9.5 Planning the route for waste collection vehicles
For any urban location, there is likely to be a number of transfer stations distributed around the town. The waste will need collecting from all these stations as well as directly from businesses, institutions and some households. In most locations, there is only one site for final treatment and disposal, to which the waste must be transported, and this is usually situated at the edge of the town. It is important to plan the routes for the waste collection vehicle (or vehicles) to make the best use of the resources available. This keeps costs down and gives people the best-possible service. Route planning is a complex operation, but the basic process consists of three stages:
- Identifying the pickup points and the likely amounts of waste to be collected from each point.
- Grouping pickup points to form ‘collection rounds’ that can be served by a single collection vehicle.
- Planning the route of each collection round taking account of the distance travelled, traffic levels and safety to the public and the waste collectors.