News, Events and Culture

Council scoops award for rubbish and recycling project

Thursday April 10 2014

The Award acknowledged a project that optimises rubbish and recycling in Palmerston North which was introduced late last year. It aims to equalise daily refuse collections, reduce wasted travel and document routes for drivers.

Council analyst and programmer Lucas Mostyn who worked on the project says Geographic Information Systems were used to calculate potential new routes and zones, produce a database and display information for residents, Council staff and operations.

"Optimising high density collection routes presents a number of challenges to current technology as the algorithm used must process each collection point and select the sequence based on a numeric score," Lucas said. "This project used a time cost network to determine the optimal route based on factors such as school times, traffic density and turning preferences."

The project aim was to cut down right hand turns for collection trucks, reduce the distance the trucks travel, avoid route overlap, reduce the number of streets missed and avoid collecting near schools between 8 and 9am.

The project, which was one of four finalists in the category, impressed the judges with its innovative thought and application of GIS to solve a common problem. They commented that it demonstrated just how important GIS can be when solving a complex issue like rubbish and recycling routes and bringing about change, resulting in lower costs and greater efficiency. Without a doubt this is a project that could be applied elsewhere to achieve similar results.

The project attracted interest from other local government authorities and although still a work in progress preliminary findings suggest reasonable monetary savings for PNCC. 

Other finalists in the category were Marlborough District Council, Auckland Council and Hastings District Council.