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Plan Routes (Map Viewer)

The Plan Routes tool determines how a fleet of vehicles can visit a set of stops in the least amount of time.

The output is a hosted feature layer.

Learn more about how Plan Routes works


A team of four inspectors conducts daily unannounced inspections at restaurants in San Diego County. The Plan Routes tool can be used to assign restaurants and routes to each of the inspectors.

Planned routes for restaurant inspectors

Usage notes

Plan Routes includes configurations for input layers, analysis settings, and result layers.

Input layers

The Input layers group includes the following parameters:

  • Start layer specifies the locations where vehicles start their routes. The layer must contain point features.

    When one start location is specified, all vehicles depart from that point regardless of the number of vehicles available.

    When multiple start locations are specified, each vehicle must be associated with its own point. The number of vehicles must match the number of points in the layer.
  • Intermediate stops layer specifies the locations that the vehicles should visit. The layer must contain point features. These points become assigned or unassigned stops in the output layer.
  • Return to start, when enabled, creates routes where all vehicles must end at the same location they began. For example, routes for local delivery trucks that start and end from the same warehouse should be created with Return to start enabled.

    To create routes that end in a different location from where they started, turn off Return to start.
  • End layer specifies the locations where the routes must end. The layer must contain point features. End layer is available when Return to start is turned off.

    The End layer can be configured to support the following options:
    • One end location—Layers with one point feature create routes where all vehicles end at the same location. For example, school bus routes dropping students off at the same school will all end at the same location.
    • Many end locations—Layers with multiple point features create routes where each vehicle has a specified end point. For example, delivery trucks transporting goods from a regional warehouse to store branches all end at different locations.

      The number of point features must match the number of vehicles being routed. If multiple vehicles end at the same location, the end point must be repeated for each vehicle.
  • Start layer route ID field and End layer route ID field specify fields in the start layer and end layer that uniquely identify individual routes, vehicles, or drivers. The field values will be used to derive the names for the output routes. The values in these fields must be unique. These parameters are available when layers with multiple points are chosen for Start layer or End layer.

    If the vehicles start and end at multiple locations, specifying these fields is required, and the route IDs chosen for the start layer and end layer must match. Otherwise, the fields are optional. If they are not specified, the route names will be automatically derived from the Name or ObjectID fields in the input layers.
  • Optional barrier layers is used to add features that act as temporary restrictions when traveling on the underlying streets. The Optional barrier layers parameter includes the following subparameters:
    • Point barrier layer—Point features that block traffic at a specific position along the street. Travel is permitted on the street but not through the barrier. Examples of point barriers include a fallen tree, a traffic accident, or a downed electrical line.
    • Line barrier layer—Line features that block traffic across several street segments. The line barriers prohibit travel anywhere the barriers intersect the streets. Examples of line barriers include a parade or protest.
    • Polygon barrier layer—Polygon features that block traffic across entire areas of the street network. The polygon barriers prohibit travel anywhere the polygon intersects the street. Examples of polygon barriers include a flood or forest fire.

Analysis settings

The Analysis settings group includes the following parameters:

  • Travel mode is used to choose which travel mode the routes will be based on. Travel modes are configured by your ArcGIS administrator and can be based on travel time or travel distance.

    Learn more about travel modes
  • Departure time is used to determine the date and time that the vehicles depart from the start locations. This parameter is available for time-based travel modes like driving time and trucking time and has an impact on the travel speed.

    If the custom date and time is within 4 hours of the current time, live traffic conditions are used. If the custom date and time is not within 4 hours of the current date and time, historical traffic conditions are used. Use this option to create a travel area with typical traffic conditions. For example, choose 9:00 a.m. on the previous Monday to create a travel area with typical conditions for Mondays at 9:00 a.m.
  • Maximum number of vehicles to route determines the maximum number of vehicles that can be routed. The following table explains the maximum number of vehicles depending on the numbers of start locations and end locations.

    Start locationsEnd locationsMaximum vehicles



    As specified.

    The tool may be able to find an optimal solution with fewer than the maximum specified depending on the total number of stops, how many stops per vehicle you allow, how far apart the stops are, the time spent at each stop, and any limit you set on the total route time per vehicle.


    More than one

    Same as the number of end locations. This value cannot be edited.

    More than one


    Same as the number of start locations. This value cannot be edited.

    More than one

    More than one

    Same as the number of start and end locations. This value cannot be edited.


    The number of start locations and end locations must match.

  • Maximum number of stops per vehicle can be used to balance the workload between vehicles.

    By lowering the maximum number of stops that can be assigned to each vehicle, the vehicles are more likely to have an equal number of stops assigned to them. Setting a maximum number of stops helps balance workloads among drivers. However, it may result in a solution that is less efficient.

    By increasing the stops per vehicle, the tool has more freedom to find more efficient solutions; however, the workload may be unevenly distributed among drivers and vehicles.
  • Time spent at each stop (minutes) specifies the expected average service time spent at each stop. For example, if you are planning a workday schedule for inspectors and the average inspection time is 45 minutes, enter 45. The service time is assumed to be the same at all stops.
  • Limit max time per vehicle determines whether a maximum routing time is applied to vehicles.
  • Max time per vehicle (minutes) specifies the maximum amount of time a route can last from start to finish and is the second method of balancing workload between vehicles. The route time includes expected travel time and service times spent at stops along the route. The default value is 480 minutes, or 8 hours, to reflect a standard work day.

    This parameter is available when Limit max time per vehicle is enabled.

Result layers

The Result layers group includes the following parameters:

  • Output name determines the name of the layer that is created and added to the map. The name must be unique. If a layer with the same name already exists in your organization, the tool will fail and you will be prompted to use a different name.
  • Include route layers saves each result route as a route layer. A route layer includes all the information for a particular route, such as the stops assigned to the route and the travel directions. Creating route layers is useful if you want to share the individual routes with other members in your organization. Click the individual result route on the map to open a pop-up with options to edit, open the route layer, or zoom to the route. The Open route option in the pop-up adds the route layer to the current map.
  • Save in folder specifies the name of a folder in My Content where the result will be saved.


The following limitations apply to the tool:

  • Traffic conditions are not used when determining the assignment of stops to routes or determining the order of stops on the routes. If your routing services are configured with live traffic, traffic conditions are used when creating the routes and determining directions between the stops.
  • An error will occur if the tool takes more than 240 minutes to run when using travel modes. If this error occurs, try rerunning the analysis with fewer input features or increase the routing geoprocessing service's usage timeout.


Analysis environment settings are additional parameters that affect a tool's results. You can access the tool's analysis environment settings from the Environment settings parameter group.

This tool honors the Output coordinate system analysis environment.


Credits will be consumed if your ArcGIS Enterprise portal is configured to use the ArcGIS Online routing services.

For more information, see Understand credits for spatial analysis.


This tool includes the following outputs:

  • One point layer showing the start and end locations and assigned stops for each route.
  • One line layer showing the roads used for each route.
  • One route layer per route (optional).

Licensing requirements

This tool requires the following licensing and configurations:

  • Creator or GIS Professional user type
  • Publisher or Administrator role, or an equivalent custom role
  • Network Analysis privilege
  • Vehicle Routing Problem (Asynchronous)
  • Routing utility service

Learn more about configuring routing services


Use the following resources to learn more: