Microsoft announced at Ignite the Bing Maps Distance Matrix API solution, a service that provides travel time and distances for a set of origins and destinations. On October 2nd, 2017, Microsoft eagerly announced that it is now available!
The Bing Maps Distance Matrix API service assists in calculating travel time and distances in many-to-many scenarios with an optional travel-time histogram. Looking to develop a solution for a Travelling Salesman Problem (TSP) or Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP)? The Distance Matrix API can help answer questions as varied as where a commercial bakery should open their next location to optimize daily deliveries or helping a school district select the optimal pick up locations for their fleet of school buses.
How it works
The Bing Maps Distance Matrix API calculates the distances and times based on the routes calculated by the Bing Maps Route API. Times are based on predictive traffic information, depending on the start time specified in the request, and distance matrices are calculated using different modes of transportation, such as driving, walking and public transit routes. This API can also generate an optional histogram of travel times over a period of time with a set interval that takes into consideration the predicted traffic at those times.
Below is a screenshot from the travelling salesman demo, including the travel-time histogram:
Calculating a route with traffic data
Using the Bing Maps Distance Matrix API, you can calculate a route using traffic data to determine a distance matrix based on travel time or distance for many scenarios, such as store locators, job search sites, location scoring, and more.
In the first image below, location one is clearly closer than location two visually on a map; however, in calculating time and distance, the second location is actually a shorter distance away and takes less driving time than location one.
Power Route Optimization Calculations
Types of Route Optimizations:
- Traveling Salesmen Problem (TSP) – single user
- Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP) – fleet of vehicles
Route Optimization Considerations:
- Time Windows
- Pickup and Delivery locations
- Vehicle Capacity
- Multiple depots
- Split deliveries