The service residents in the unincorporated areas
of Sacramento County can count on through rain, shine or a holiday – their trash gets picked up. There are more than 150,000 customers and 75 different collection routes making their way through a mix of urban and rural landscapes throughout unincorporated Sacramento County. With all that ground to cover, it’s important for the Department of Waste Management and Recycling and its employees to get curbside pickup right – and, a Global Positioning System (GPS) helps to do just that.
Bradley J. Hudson, Sacramento County Executive, said, “Our curbside collection employees, as well as all of the Waste Management and Recycling staff members do a great job for our County, and it’s reflected in their award winning services, facilities and programs.”
“In fact,” said Tim Devaul, Operations Manager, “because curbside collection is so seamless, residents likely don’t spend much time thinking about it. Which is good, but a lot goes in to it to make it that way. GPS is an essential tool in fleet management for trash pickup and achieves several things simultaneously.”
On the operations side, the technology manages resources better by simplifying and improving the dispatch of the trucks and drivers,. GPS also helps to establish the most efficient collection routes, which in turn reduces costs, fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Doug Kobold, Program Manager, said, “GPS gives us a snapshot of when each vehicle started and ended the day, total stops made, the number of miles driven and amount of idling time. All of this helps us balance the workload.”
In addition to the GPS operational efficiency benefits, employees benefit from faster responses to emergency situations. GPS is also used for employee coaching to improve safety and reduce accidents as travel speed, hard braking and rapid acceleration data are all available using GPS data.
Paul Philleo, Department Director, said, “The GPS technology acts like a system of checks and balances to ensure operational efficiency, service accuracy and greater safety.”
Each driver has a regular route of approximately 1,000 customers per day and GPS helps to ensure none of the customers are missed. The GPS unit logs each of the roughly 180 garbage cans serviced every hour, and conversely, the driver logs when a can for garbage, green waste or recycling hasn’t made it out to the curb.
Stay tuned for more high-tech trash tracking in the not so distant future, as Waste Management and Recycling
plans to add on to the operational and cost efficiencies of GPS technology to incorporate radiofrequency garbage can “locationing” and identification. This technology will electronically log when a can has been emptied, and will track each of the $45 garbage cans for the approximately 150,000 customers in Sacramento County.