Secure vehicle routing: models and algorithms to increase security and reduce costs in the cash-in-transit sector

Date: 18 February 2015

Venue: University of Antwerp, Promotiezaal Grauwzusters - Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerpen

PhD candidate: Luca Talarico

Principal investigator: Prof. dr. Kenneth Sörensen

Co-principal investigator: Prof. dr. Johan Springael

Short description: PhD defense Luca Talarico - Faculty of Applied Economics

Abstract: The physical transportation of cash plays a vital role in our daily lives. In 2012, worldwide cash transactions accounted for $11.6 trillion, with a growth of 1.75% between 2008 and 2012. Due to the nature of the transported goods, crime is a significant challenge and carriers are constantly exposed to serious security threats such as robberies. Attacks on vehicles are absolutely not rare, although the number of episodes and the average losses are different from country to country.
Despite the attention that researchers have devoted to vehicle routing problems, the issue of security during the transportation of cash has gained greater consideration in the academic world only very recently. However, specific contributions in this field are still limited.
This thesis aims to develop risk-effective tools to support decision makers when planning safe and cost effective vehicle routes. The proposed models and the related optimization techniques find their natural applicability in the cash-in-transit sector, even though they can be easily extended to other domains such as the transportation of dangerous goods and/or the design of patrol routes for security agents.
A variety of vehicle routing problems are proposed, where a risk constraint limits the risk exposure of each vehicle. Several real-life settings such as the presence of hard time windows and/or multiple depots are also considered. In addition, a multi-objective decision model, where both risk and travel costs need to be minimized, is developed to improve the decision process. Finally, a generalization of the peripatetic routing problem is proposed to increase security by enhancing route unpredictability.
Several effective algorithms based on metaheuristics are developed to solve such complex optimization problems. These approaches are tested in an academic context, even though their implementation may be very useful in real-life applications, thus allowing the route planner to save precious time to be dedicated to further added value activities. Since these metaheuristics produce near optimal solutions in a limited computation times, they could be embedded inside companies' ICT systems so as to bridge the gap between the academic world and business practitioners.