Road network pricing and design for ordinary and hazmat vehicles: Integrated model and specialized local search

Francisco López-Ramos, Stefano Nasini, Armando Guarnaschelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


In the context of vehicle transportation in congested roads, we propose an optimization framework to integrate the operator decisions on network pricing, regulation, and expansion, while accounting for the shipments of hazardous materials. Current research trends only provide partial modeling integrations of the well-known toll optimization, hazmat transportation, and network design problems. However, the growing complexity of traffic management requires a stronger coordination in the operator decisions. In this paper, a mixed-integer non-linear bi-level problem is introduced to model this integration. The model considers a road network operator (acting as a leader), who maximizes its profit –the toll income minus the costs from roads construction and risk exposure to hazmat transportation–, and vehicles (acting as a follower), who minimize their travel costs –due to traffic congestion and toll charges. We introduce a reformulation approach that approximates this complex integrated problem with arbitrary precision and apply a specialized local search to exploit the structure of such reformulation. This combined resolution strategy relies upon a binary-search-based procedure, which sequentially updates the road prices intervals in such a way that the operator profit is monotonically improved. The effectiveness of the proposed approach is shown on a variety of structural configurations and economic settings, involving 1620 instances tested on the well-known Sioux Falls road network.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-187
Number of pages18
JournalComputers and Operations Research
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Bi-level optimization
  • Hazmat traffic regulation
  • Network design
  • Specialized local search
  • Toll setting


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