Exact Routing in Large Road Networks Using Contraction Hierarchies
Contraction hierarchies are a simple approach for fast routing in road networks. Our algorithm calculates exact shortest paths and handles road networks of whole continents. During a preprocessing step, we exploit the inherent hierarchical structure of road networks by adding shortcut edges. A subsequent modified bidirectional Dijkstra algorithm can then find a shortest path in a fraction of a millisecond, visiting only a few hundred nodes. This small search space makes it suitable to implement it on a mobile device. We present a mobile implementation that also handles changes in the road network, like traffic jams, and that allows instantaneous routing without noticeable delay for the user. Also, an algorithm to calculate large distance tables is currently the fastest if based on contraction hierarchies.