The technology will be in use in the city's residential, commercial and recycling collections trucks.

Cheryl McMullen, Freelance writer

March 27, 2017

3 Min Read
How Santa Fe, N.M., Will Work with Rubicon to Modernize its Solid Waste Operations

As the city of Santa Fe, N.M., works to update billing and accounting systems across the board, a pilot program between the city’s Environmental Services Division and Rubicon Global, will allow the division to modernize its solid waste program, while assessing diversion rates and optimizing routing.

Looking to launch on April 10 in residential trash trucks, the technology will be in use soon thereafter in residential recycling trucks and eventually in the city’s commercial collection trucks, giving the city the ability to track all of its collection trucks with Atlanta-based Rubicon’s technology.

“This opportunity with Rubicon lets us go from pretty much no data to lots of data, so we are really excited about the opportunity to try something out before we make the decision about what kind of technology we’re ultimately going to invest in,” says Environmental Services Division Director Shirlene Sitton.

The town announced its deal with Rubicon earlier this month.

Smartphones loaded with the Rubicon hauler mobile app will be placed in the City of Santa Fe Environmental Services Division’s fleet of collection vehicles. The city currently has more than 40 trucks that service 29,300 residential and 2,500 commercial locations. The division also will use Rubicon’s desktop vendor portal, which works with the mobile app to create operational efficiency, improve customer service and could ultimately lead to savings for taxpayers.

The technology also will provide the city of Santa Fe with planning data, most notably, says Rubicon, by enabling real-time information on current landfill diversion and recycling rates. The data will help the city understand how to better focus its recycling education efforts, measure the carbon avoidance from recycling activities and determine vehicle emission reduction targets in the city’s waste fleet through route optimization and other features.

“It will give us a lot more information and make us a lot more efficient, so we are real excited about that,” Sitton says.

Though GPS tracking , the office will be able to track real-time collection efforts in the field and to know details like which street a collection truck is on, where it is located and when or if trash or recycling has been collected, she says.

What’s different about the Rubicon software is that it does not require a lot of installed technology in the truck. There’s not a big investment in the hardware, says Sitton. It simply an app on an iPhone.

Additionally, drivers can take pictures with the smartphone of residences where no cart was out at collection time, for example, or of waste that wasn’t collected because it was C&D waste that the city does not collect. The photo is sent to the dashboard so the information is available if a customer has questions.

The Santa Fe technology partnership with Rubicon is the latest example of city’s commitment to sustainability-related programs, projects and policies. The city has a 25-Year Sustainable Santa Fe Plan that encompasses a wide variety of initiatives to achieve the goal of being carbon neutral by 2040.

“Rubicon’s technology is enabling cities to achieve better service for citizens and improve quality of life by making communities more sustainable,” Rubicon Head of Public Policy Michael Allegretti said in a press release. “Santa Fe has long been a center of government innovation and this partnership is an example of its ongoing commitment to environmental leadership.”

It will help secure routes and help with routing efficiency, adds Sitton. It will allow substitute drivers to see how the route is collected by the normal driver and can even get turn by turn instruction about the route when they log in.

At the end of the pilot program, the city will look at various types of technology when they write the request for proposal and determine which they will use moving forward.

Rubicon has focused efforts on expanding its work with municipalities. The company launched a technology partnership with the City of Atlanta in December 2016.

About the Author(s)

Cheryl McMullen

Freelance writer, Waste360

Cheryl McMullen is a freelance journalist from Akron, Ohio, covering solid waste collection and transfer for Waste360.

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