Application of vehicle routing problem for sustainable waste collection: Case study of altoona, Pennsylvania

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The management of solid waste in the City of Altoona, Pennsylvania, USA is unique in that a department responsible for the design and collection of solid waste is Non-Existent. Further, the city does not contract any particular company for collection. Rather, the city utilizes a freedom to choose system where residents can choose from any one of twenty companies for their solid waste collection. The Intermunicipal Relations Committee (IRC) is the local organization responsible for overseeing and enforcing waste and recycling regulations within the city. The freedom to choose system is highly inefficient. The sheer number of companies operating within the city makes it difficult for the IRC to enforce regulations as each company's customers are cattered throughout the city. On any particular day, several collection trucks could be driving through the same neighborhood. This result in lengthy collection times and unnecessary miles traveled. This research utilizes the GIS spatial analyst vehicle routing problem (VRP) function to model the current freedom to choose collection system and determine total collection times, miles traveled, and number of trips to the transfer station. Two alternative collection scenarios are proposed and modeled. Results indicate the inefficiencies associated with current collection when compared to two alternate scenarios. A controlled collection scenario reduces miles traveled by 70 percent and collection time by 44 percent. Greater savings of 76 and 50 percent occur with the improved efficiency scenario. Results confirm the wasteful miles traveled and man hours worked, thus demonstrating the need for city officials to implement changes that would bring savings to collection companies, customers, and the environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGeographic Information Systems (GIS)
Subtitle of host publicationTechniques, Applications and Technologies
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9781633212947
ISBN (Print)9781633212930
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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