Soft Computing

, Volume 21, Issue 18, pp 5295–5308 | Cite as

A discrete firefly algorithm to solve a rich vehicle routing problem modelling a newspaper distribution system with recycling policy

  • Eneko Osaba
  • Xin-She Yang
  • Fernando Diaz
  • Enrique Onieva
  • Antonio D. Masegosa
  • Asier Perallos
Methodologies and Application


A real-world newspaper distribution problem with recycling policy is tackled in this work. To meet all the complex restrictions contained in such a problem, it has been modeled as a rich vehicle routing problem, which can be more specifically considered as an asymmetric and clustered vehicle routing problem with simultaneous pickup and deliveries, variable costs and forbidden paths (AC-VRP-SPDVCFP). This is the first study of such a problem in the literature. For this reason, a benchmark composed by 15 instances has been also proposed. In the design of this benchmark, real geographical positions have been used, located in the province of Bizkaia, Spain. For the proper treatment of this AC-VRP-SPDVCFP, a discrete firefly algorithm (DFA) has been developed. This application is the first application of the firefly algorithm to any rich vehicle routing problem. To prove that the proposed DFA is a promising technique, its performance has been compared with two other well-known techniques: an evolutionary algorithm and an evolutionary simulated annealing. Our results have shown that the DFA has outperformed these two classic meta-heuristics.


Rich vehicle routing problem Firefly algorithm Newspaper delivery Combinatorial optimization Routing problems 



This project was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme through the TIMON: Enhanced real time services for optimized multimodal mobility relying on cooperative networks and open data project (636220). As well as by the projects TEC2013-45585-C2-2-R from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, and PC2013-71A from the Basque Government.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eneko Osaba
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xin-She Yang
    • 2
  • Fernando Diaz
    • 1
  • Enrique Onieva
    • 1
  • Antonio D. Masegosa
    • 1
  • Asier Perallos
    • 1
  1. 1.Deusto Institute of Technology (DeustoTech)University of DeustoBilbaoSpain
  2. 2.School of Science and TechnologyMiddlesex UniversityLondonUK

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