Districting and Routing for Solid Waste Collection

by James W. Male, (A.M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass.,
Jon C. Liebman, (M.ASCE), Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Ill.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Environmental Engineering Division, 1978, Vol. 104, Issue 1, Pg. 1-14

Document Type: Journal Paper


The theory and procedure of an heuristic algorithm that routes a known number of solid waste collection vehicles on a street network is presented. The network is assumed to be planar and connected, consisting of undirected streets. Each street has a travel cost and solid waste load associated with it. The purposes of the procedure are to determine collection districts. The districts must be such that the sum of solid waste loads within each district does not exceed vehicle capacity. Since the vehicle will necessarily traverse some streets where collection is not required and retraverse other streets more times than necessary for collection, the proposed algorithm attempts to minimize the sum of travel costs for these retraced streets. The algorithm determines districts and tours simultaneously. For each tour it lists a sequence of streets and specifies whether the street is merely traveled or also serviced.

Subject Headings: Streets | Algorithms | Solid mechanics | Solid wastes | Load factors | Load bearing capacity | Vehicle loads | Travel time

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