The covering path problem on a grid

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2 Scopus citations


This paper introduces the covering path problem on a grid (CPPG) that finds the cost-minimizing path connecting a subset of points in a grid such that each point that needs to be covered is within a predetermined distance of a point from the chosen subset. We leverage the geometric properties of the grid graph, which captures the road network structure in many transportation problems, including our motivating setting of school bus routing. As defined in this paper, the CPPG is a biobjective optimization problem comprising one cost term related to path length and one cost term related to stop count. We develop a trade-off constraint, which quantifies the trade-off between path length and stop count and provides a lower bound for the biobjective optimization problem. We introduce simple construction techniques to provide feasible paths that match the lower bound within a constant factor. Importantly, this solution approach uses transformations of the general CPPG to either a discrete CPPG or continuous CPPG based on the value of the coverage radius. For both the discrete and continuous versions, we provide fast constantfactor approximations, thus solving the general CPPG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1656-1672
Number of pages17
JournalTransportation Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2019


  • Covering path problem
  • Grid optimization
  • Location routing problem
  • School bus routing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation


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