What's new for route finding in ArcGIS 10
The Find Route dialog box, which allows you to calculate point-to-point routes and driving directions in ArcMap, is now positioned on the Tools toolbar.
It has been enhanced to support non-SDC network datasets, use the ArcGIS online routing and geocoding services directly, and includes other useful functionality as well.
In addition to the SDC network datasets included with StreetMap data, the Find Route dialog box now supports routing against shapefile and geodatabase network datasets, as well as ArcGIS Server routing services. This allows you to solve routes using network datasets that have custom attributes and impedances. It also gives you the ability to provide your entire organization, and others outside your organization, with access to a routing solution by creating an ArcGIS Server routing service using any network dataset you choose.
Using ArcGIS Online
ArcGIS Online (ArcGIS.com) provides several free routing and geocoding services that users can access dynamically over the Web. These services are available by default in the Find Route dialog box, and they allow you to geocode your stops and calculate high-quality routes in ArcMap even if you don't have your own data. The ArcGIS Online routing services are available in the Routing Services drop-down list on the Options tab of the Find Route dialog box.
The ArcGIS Online geocoding services are available in the Choose an address locator drop-down list on the Options tab.
Other routing functionality
Because Find Route now supports custom network datasets, it also supports routing against custom impedances, or network costs, defined in the network dataset. Whenever an agent traverses a network element, it is charged some amount, which is the network cost. For example, a path from one city to another might have a network cost of 45 miles. Previously, Find Route only supported the impedances Time and Length, but it now supports any that are defined in the network.
A time window is the period between a start and end time in which a stop should be visited by a route. Time windows can be used to simulate a delivery scenario, where each stop has a time range within which the delivery needs to take place, and there is a certain amount of time that needs to be spent at each stop. If arrival does not take place at the stop within the allotted time window, a time window violation is reported in the driving directions. Time windows are defined for individual stops on the Stop Properties dialog box.