Vehicle routing is the grouping (clustering) of orders or transport orders to routes and determining the sequence of the stops (routing) within these routes. This needs to be done complying with numerous constraints, such as restricted arrival times or time limits within which the deliveries must be made (time windows), capacities, priority relations, etc.
Within vehicle routing, a distinction is made between strategic (long-term), tactical (operational), robust/dynamic and manual vehicle routing. Strategic vehicle routing refers to regular routes with fixed, unchanging schedules that can be planned long-term. The goals of strategic vehicle routing are, among other things: reducing the effort of daily planning, commitment to fixed delivery times, outsourcing of fixed routes, district planning and depot optimisation. In tactical vehicle routing (also called operational vehicle routing or ad-hoc planning), a specific, individual subset of known orders is planned, like for instance, the daily planning in freight forwarding. Manual vehicle routing means planning without the aid of computers.