Solving an urban waste collection problem using ants heuristics

Joaquín Bautista, Elena Fernández, Jordi Pereira

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95 Scopus citations


This paper describes the methodology that we have applied for the solution of an urban waste collection problem in the municipality of Sant Boi de Llobregat, within the metropolitan area of Barcelona (Spain). The basic nature of the considered problem is that of a capacitated arc routing problem, although it has several specific characteristics, mainly derived from traffic regulations. We present the model that we have built for the problem, which results after an appropriate transformation of the problem into a node routing one. We also present the ant colonies heuristics that we have used to obtain the solutions to the problem. These combine constructive methods, based on nearest neighbor and on nearest insertion, with a local search that explores various neighborhoods. The application of the proposed methods gives results that improve considerably the ones that were previously used in the municipality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3020-3033
Number of pages14
JournalComputers and Operations Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Ants heuristics
  • Arc routing
  • Urban waste management


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