As cities and communities work to recover from COVID-19, now is the moment to rethink how we live, work, and consume. Using technology to become more sustainable, more fiscally responsible, and less wasteful is an imperative now more than ever. The smartest cities and best smart city technologies will be those that assist cities in transitioning to remote work environments as part of a renewed or reimagined push towards resilience in the age of public health crises.
How can the humble garbage truck be a part of this larger technology and data-driven solution for a sustainable and resilient future for our cities? According to the EPA, more than 267 million tons of municipal solid waste was generated in the United States in 2017. The garbage truck does an amazing job collecting that waste; but there are more than four million miles of navigable roadways across our 50 states and an endless number of problems—beyond waste—that litter these thoroughfares. Roads get snowed on, creating dangerous driving conditions. Roads need to be swept and cleaned to keep traffic flowing. And roads get potholes, requiring immediate attention before they claim a vehicle’s front axle as an unassuming victim, or even worse, before flood waters flow in. Additionally, our roads have houses and storefronts along them that might be abandoned; buildings that might be covered in graffiti; and damaged street signs that might dot their path—all creating quality of life ills for our communities. What if we could proactively deal with these issues and create better, safer, and cleaner streets without adding more personnel to government budgets and more equipment to our already congested streets? By equipping existing government fleets with the right technology, and transforming a city service model from reactive to proactive, we can make our technology work harder for us and build city resiliency.
Learn how—on the backs of the vehicles that pick up your trash, sweep your street, and plow your roads—the smart city trail is being blazed and resilient cities are being born.
- Michael Allegretti, Chief Strategy Officer, Rubicon
- Michael Shaw, Assistant to the Director, Solid Waste Division, Kansas City, MO