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 KaTCH -- Karlsruhe Time-Dependent Contraction Hierarchies



KaTCH is an implementation of time-dependent contraction hierarchies
(TCHs), an algorithmic framework for fast and exact route planning
in road networks that optimizes the travel time depending on the
point in time when the journey starts.

The implementation mainly follows the description by Batz et al. [1]
but with some modifications. It covers the ordering stage of the
preprocessing and the TCH-based EA querying. Construction of
hierarchies for pre-existing node orders as well as other queries
like ATCH-based EA querying and all kinds of profile queries are not
yet included in KaTCH. Note that the Ordering not only computes a
node order but outputs a fully functioning TCH structure. The TCH is
written to file on-the-fly during the ordering process.

It must be noted that KaTCH is NOT the implementation of TCHs that
is used in the experiments reported by Batz et al. [1]. Instead it
has been widely reengineered and rewritten to provide more clear,
more understandable, and more maintainable source code than the
code developed during our research. The original TCH source code
is quite experimental and not so easy to understand.

KaTCH is released by Karlsruher Institut fuer Technologie (KIT)
under the terms of GNU AGPL version 3 (see files 'LICENSE' and
'COPYING'). If you need a commercial license, please contact Prof.
Peter Sanders <> of KIT by writing an email.


On the one hand, the preprocessing provided by KaTCH runs somewhat
slower than in case of original code. Partly, this is because we
switched from sparse arrays to hash tables to map nodes to internal
objects during witness search. But also partly the reason is not
known so far. Spending some time with more aggressive optimizing may
make KaTCH as fast as the original implementation. On the other hand,
the TCH structures generated by KaTCH are more accurate than in case
of the original code. In the latter case the EA query of KaTCH shows
a maximum relative error up to 0.00035% for an instance of the
Western European road network with 1 million queries with randomly
chosen start, destination, and departure time. In case of TCH
structures generated by KaTCH we observe the much smaller
4.02313e-13% as maximum relative error.

The EA querying of KaTCH runs significantly faster on the TCH
representation of the Western Europe generated by the preprocessing
of KaTCH than generated by the original code. A possible explanation
could be that the more accurate TCH structures generated by KaTCH
enable a more effective stalling than the somewhat less accurate
structures generated by the original code.


KaTCH modifies the techniques described in [1] as explained in the

1. Preprocessing
The witness search is modified in the following way:

- The Interval search runs in backward instead of forward

- The sample search is performed AFTER the interval search and
  runs on a thinned corridor (i.e., the predecessor graph of the
  backward interval search only storing the predecessors that
  improve the upper or lower bound of an interval) instead of the
  full remaining graph. Also, the sample search is performed  is
  performed in the manner of an A* search using the lower bounds
  computed by the backward interval search as potential function.
  It is important to note that KaTCH performs the sample search
  for ALL witness searches. This is different from [1] where the
  sample search is only performed occasionally; namely depending on
  how many shortcuts are omitted and inserted/merged during the
  ordering process.

- The profile search is performed in forward direction on the thinned
  corridor provided by the interval search. This is the same as in
  [1] but with the difference that the preceding interval search is a
  backward search instead of the forward search as said above. The
  only other modification is that the profile search runs in the
  manner of an A* search also using the lower bounds computed by the
  backward interval search as potential function, just like the
  sample search does before.

2. TCH-based EA Querying
The querying is performed as Batz et al. (see Algorithm 4 in [1])
describe it but the stall-on-demand is different from the description
in Section 5.4 of this article. The modifications are as follows:

- Stalling is not propagated to further nodes.

- Nodes are stalled by considering adjacent nodes higher up in the
  hierarchy as described in [1]. However, stalling is performed not
  only based on the current label of these nodes but also on the
  stall weight.


Note that the source code of KaTCH contains lots of assertions that
perform a lot checking. On the one hand, this increases reliability
(but note that we give NO WARANTY). On the other hand, this means
the assertions slow down KaTCH significantly. Compile, in case of
g++, with option -DNDEBUG to get rid of this slow down.

Also note that KaTCH makes intense use of double arithmetic which
means rounding errors may occur. So, if an assertion fails due to
rounding errors, for example  during preprocessing, this does
not necessarily mean that KaTCH does not work. In our experience
the generated TCH structures can still be of very good quality
(again, WITHOUT WARANTY). for the road network of Western Europe
that we used in our experiments, for example, an assertion fails
but the maximum error is below 1.0e-12%. So, if assertions fail,
you should simply run the preprocessing with deactivated assertions
and check experimentally how well the generated TCH structures work.

File Formats

For input graphs KaTCH uses a text file format called TPGR. To
store TCH structures it uses a binary format called BTCH. For
massive testing KaTCH uses DEMAND files. All three formats are
explained by the HTML files in the directory 'doc'.


KaTCH is licensed under GNU AGPL version 3. If you need a commercial
license, please contact the holder of the copyright

   Institut fuer Theroretische Informatik,
   Karlsruher Institut fuer Technology (KIT),
   76131 Karlsruhe, Germany

by writing an email to Prof. Peter Sanders <>.


- OpenMP
- BOOST strong typedef and pairing heap

Language Version

Compiling and Running

KaTCH contains two example .cpp files for running preprocessing and
EA queries; namely


To compiel them with g++ under Linux, for example, change to
directory 'examples' and type, for example,

> g++ -O3 -DNDEBUG -fopenmp -I.. -isystem<BOOST INCLUDE DIRECTORY> \
-std=c++11 -o <NAME OF BINARY> run_ordering.cpp

replacing <BOOST INCLUDE DIRECTORY> and <NAME OF BINARY> appropriately,
or analogously for 'examples/run_tch_ea_query.cpp'.


Note that G. Veit Batz <>, the author of KaTCH, no longer
works at KIT.

For relicensing, contact Prof. Peter Sanders <> of KIT.


[1] Gernot Veit Batz, Robert Geisberger, Peter Sanders, and Christian
    Vetter. "Minimum Time-Dependent Travel Times with Contraction
    Hierarchies", ACM Journal of Experimental Algorithmics,
    18(1.4):1--43, 2013.


KaTCH -- Karlsruhe Time-Dependent Contraction Hierarchies




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