Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States with a population of more than 2.3 million residents, recently noted that partnering with Rubicon is making it possible for the city to digitize its entire waste and recycling management system:
“The City of Houston is committed to providing the highest level of service to its residents. Working with Rubicon allows us to provide better services, save taxpayer dollars and deliver a better quality of life for Houstonians.”
Houston is not alone. For cities across the country, from Memphis, Tennessee; to Kansas City, Missouri; from Miami, Florida; to Columbus, Ohio; public works officials are recognizing the benefits that cities can realize when they digitize their waste and recycling operations. Let’s look at what a few of them have to say.
Through their partnership with Rubicon, the City of Houston demonstrates the potential of technology to enhance waste management processes, save costs and improve overall service delivery.
Prior to working with Rubicon, the City faced mounting waste management challenges with service interruptions, inefficient routes and costly go-back trips. Working together, Rubicon digitized over 1,000 routes and more than 1.3 million stops across Houston’s trash, recycling and yard waste routes.
Houston’s future waste management vision revolves around efficiency, responsiveness and citizen-centric services. Mayor Sylvester Turner envisions the City’s future as one that leverages technology to deliver effective public services for all residents, regardless of their background, with an aim to provide better services, save taxpayer dollars and improve the quality of life for all.
Kansas City, Missouri
After digitizing its waste and recycling operations in 2019, the City of Kansas City wanted to bring some of the efficiencies in routing, customer service and service confirmation from the waste world to the snow world.
RUBICONSmartCity’s snow removal technology powered the City’s 300 snow vehicles throughout the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 snow seasons, through five major snow events. The City went on to win the American Public Works Association (APWA) Excellence in Snow and Ice Control Award for 2023.
Since coming on with Rubicon, Kansas City has seen over two million dollars cost savings in delivering services in just trash collection alone. “In Kansas City we are constantly striving to improve public services—and with them, quality of life for our residents,” said Michael Shaw, Director of Public Works for the City of Kansas City, Missouri. “Efficient snow removal positively impacts public safety and keeps our great city moving in the winter months.”
Working with the City and County of Denver (CCD), Rubicon helped the CCD move toward achieving sustainable waste management by digitizing more than 450 recurring trash, recycling and composing routes.
These digitized routes allow Denver’s Solid Waste Management Division to transition drivers from paper-based maps and manual routing to digital route sheets. Managers and supervisors across the department now have real-time insights into route progress, service completion and any issues at the curb. Drivers can assist with each other’s routes in case of a breakdown and receive updates to their routes as they happen. Department leaders can use analytics based on all of this data to identify problems and create solutions. All of these improvements enable the CCD to provide a more efficient and effective curbside collection service.
When the City of Memphis, Tennessee adopted Rubicon’s technology in 2018, the intent was not to purchase a gotcha tool for their employees. Philip Davis, the Director of Solid Waste for the City, was looking for something that could provide data to improve the customer experience.
“Our drivers have been able to adopt this technology and utilize it to improve their experience [on their routes],” said Davis. Rather than a disciplinary tool, the City’s waste and recycling drivers soon recognized that Rubicon’s technology could be used to keep customers accountable, while showing their supervisors and City management why they didn’t pick up this customer (bin not out) or that customer (damaged cart) on any given day.
The power of the RUBICONSmartCity technology suite is that it gives the power back to Memphis’s solid waste management workers.
Working in collaboration with Esri ArcGIS mapping software, Rubicon created an application service integration to help the City of Columbus, Ohio Division of Refuse Collection shorten resident wait times for bulk collection from three weeks to one week, save four hours of time weekly by eliminating manual request updates and increase the efficiency of routing.
Rubicon and Esri worked with Columbus to integrate RUBICONSmartCity and Esri ArcGIS and automate the flow of customer route data from ArcGIS to RUBICONSmartCity. “By eliminating manual processes using the Rubicon integration into ArcGIS, we’re saving about four hours per week,” said Tim Swauger, Refuse Administrator for the City of Columbus.
Rubicon created a documentary featuring the success story of Houston, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; and Glendale, Arizona. Watch the full documentary on YouTube.
To learn more about how Rubicon can help your city maximize resources, optimize routes and become more proactive, visit rubicon.com/governments.