Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science

2001 Edition
| Editors: Saul I. Gass, Carl M. Harris

Urban services

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-0611-X_1094


Urban services cover a broad range of activities. These include sanitation; street cleaning to remove trash, snow, and ice; public housing; urban transportation systems; libraries, public health clinics and other local government services. In this article, we describe representative applications of operations research to improve the efficiency of these services (see, e.g., Larson and Odoni, 1981).


A planning function common to these services is the need to design efficient vehicle routes that minimize the cost of the service primarily through minimization of travel time. Garbage collectors travel up and down streets stopping in front of each house to pick up trash. Street sweepers move along curbsides sweeping up garbage while avoiding parked cars. Snow plows and/or salt trucks make their way through snow covered arteries preparing them for smooth safe traffic flow.

This class of routing problems that involve planning coverage of street...

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wayne State UniversityDetroitUSA