Reorganizing postal collection operations in urban areas as a result of declining mail volumes–A case study in Bologna

Giuseppe Bruno, Manuel Cavola, Antonio Diglio, Gilbert Laporte, Carmela Piccolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (SciVal)


The impact of technological developments on consumer habits and behavior is endangering the classical model of postal services. The resulting fall in postal volumes generated by the substitution of traditional letter posts by electronic forms of communication has rendered the collection of postal items highly inefficient. In this context, our work deals with a real problem concerning the reorganization of the collection system of the Italian postal service provider, based on the reduction of the number of postboxes currently located in an urban area. To tackle the problem, we propose a practical solution methodology, based on a mathematical programming model which identifies the postboxes to be closed, and we evaluate the impact of such a reorganization on management costs, in terms of postmen to be dedicated to the daily collection operations. Considering the crucial role of postboxes as main access points of users to the postal network, equity is also taken into account. Several computational experiments are conducted based on real data from the city of Bologna, in northern Italy. The resulting scenarios show the capability of the model to support the decision making process towards the redesigning of the postal collection system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1591-1606
JournalJournal of the Operational Research Society
Issue number7
Early online date6 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, © Operational Research Society 2020.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • districting
  • equity
  • location
  • Postal service
  • service accessibility
  • Sustainability
  • Public sector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Marketing


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