Pittsburgh considers new 'smart' can system for public spaces

Dive Brief:

  • Pittsburgh's Department of Public Works is advocating for the purchase of 400-500 "smart" cans with sensors for the city's public spaces from the company Victor Stanley, as reported by TribLIVE.
  • The cans and related software could cost an estimated $580,000. An initial resolution authorizing the city to enter an agreement with the company for $274,000 has been introduced and a vote could occur next week.
  • City crews spend approximately 100,000 hours per year emptying the current network of 1,200 cans in public spaces. Officials believe that time could be reduced by 30-50% if they switched to a sensor-based system.

Dive Insight:

Victor Stanley may not be a household name, but the company's catalog of benches, bike racks and street cans can be seen in cities around North America. Their Relay line of sensor cans is designed to detect when collection is needed and equipped with a GPS module that can alert crews where to go. Boston is one of the featured cities where these units have been deployed.

Similar "smart" concepts with sensors, solar panels or compactors from companies such as Bigbelly, Enevo and SmartBin are also becoming common sights. This market is projected to grow rapidly in the coming years as more cities look for ways to optimize their public space collection systems and reduce litter.

Other systems that until recently have only been common in European countries are beginning to make their mark on U.S. streets as well. Kissimmee, FL recently became the first city to partner with Underground Refuse Systems for a set of new large, subterranean public space bins and a planning firm called ClosedLoops is moving closer to realizing a state-of-the-art pneumatic tube concept in New York. From small standard bins to advanced tube systems, all of these projects have the potential to help with the challenging goals of creating more space and less traffic in dense urban areas.

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Filed Under: Collections & Transfer
Top image credit: Victor Stanley