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distinct collection zones


reduction in garbage truck traffic, annually

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Garbage day was an ongoing agitator

New Yorkers knew the annoyances of garbage day all too well. Massive vehicles navigating narrow streets meant hours of beeping trucks, clanging dumpsters and aggravating congestion. In some areas, inefficiency meant more than 50 trucks serviced a single neighborhood, and some blocks saw trucks pass by up to 400 times a day.

The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) realized that a more efficient system could provide relief while contributing to the city’s sustainability goals. DSNY teamed with Arcadis to develop an optimized waste collection plan that minimized impacts on residents and the environment.

Data-driven routes to streamline waste collection

Arcadis engineers took a deep dive into data around the existing waste collection routes in search of improvement opportunities. Applying advanced analytics to routing and customer information revealed that, by dividing the city into zones and designating a small number of companies for each zone, both citizens and the waste management companies could benefit from less overlap.

 The project team leveraged the data-driven insights to draft a comprehensive plan to streamline operations, Commercial Waste Zones: A Plan to Reform, Reroute, and Revitalize Private Carting in New York City. To put the plan into action, our experts guided DSNY as it solicited public input, conducted environmental reviews and drafted legislation alongside the city council. The team is still preparing the final steps – DSNY will soon release its request for proposal and select carters – but residents and stakeholders alike are enticed by its potential.

Reducing garbage truck emissions, congestion and noise

The Commercial Waste Zones plan will cut garbage truck traffic in half. Less trucks on the road will make it safer for the pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to get around. Not to mention, trucks will produce less emissions, congestion and noise that aggravates residents.

Other advances include more transparent pricing for customers and enhanced health and safety standards to protect workers and the public. DSNY and other government leaders see promise in supporting the city’s zero waste goals, too. Long-term visions for the plan also include providing all customers with recycling and organics collection, as well as requiring the participating companies to submit zero-waste plans.

Garbage day might not become one to celebrate, but the streamlined collection system will provide a few reasons to cheer. The reduced noise, congestion and emissions will give The City That Never Sleeps a well-deserved break from traditional waste collection gripes.

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