Synchromodal transport planning considering heterogeneous and vague preferences of shippers

Yimeng Zhang*, X. Li, Edwin van Hassel, Rudy R. Negenborn, Bilge Atasoy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


In synchromodal transport, a freight forwarder usually serves multiple shippers with heterogeneous and vague preferences, such as low-cost, fast, or reliable transport. Ignoring shippers’ preferences will negatively impact the satisfaction of shippers and lead to the loss of them in the longer run. In order to incorporate these preferences, a Synchromodal Transport Planning Problem with Heterogeneous and Vague Preferences (STPP-HVP) is proposed and formulated as a mathematical model. Heterogeneous and Vague Preferences (HVP) are modeled through Multiple Attribute Decision Making approaches that integrate fuzzy set theory. The proposed model has two objectives, i.e., maximizing the number of served requests and minimizing the transportation cost. Preferences of shippers are set as constraints such that the freight forwarder needs to satisfy the preferred levels for each attribute. A heuristic algorithm (Adaptive Large Neighborhood Search) is proposed to find (near) optimal solutions. The case study in the European Rhine–Alpine corridor demonstrates that the proposed model can provide more attractive solutions to shippers compared with optimization which ignores preferences. Under various scenarios, the attributes, such as cost, time, emissions, reliability, and risk of damage, are analyzed and the (near) optimal modes and routes are suggested according to HVP. Moreover, the results show that the conflicts among attributes, conflicts among shippers, and conflicts between the freight forwarder and shippers are resolved by making one actor more satisfied without compromising any other actor's preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102827
Number of pages23
JournalTransportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Heterogeneous preferences
  • Synchromodal transport
  • Transport planning
  • Vague preferences


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