Innovating With Data Across The Public Sector: Inverness/The Highland Council - Smart Waste Collection

April 1st 2020

Inverness/The Highland Council: Smart Waste Collection

What is it?

As part of a Smart Waste project, route optimisation software is being used by The Highland Council to support an intelligent, data-driven approach to waste collection.

Why is it needed?

Cities, including Inverness, have consistently identified waste services as an area of high (and increasing) cost, requiring significant deployment of staff and resources, and with high levels of interest and scrutiny on behalf of communities, politicians, and, where services are seen to be failing, of press and media.

What impact does it have?

Using round management software with consistent, accurate datasets allows for more efficient routing of waste collection vehicles, bringing with it reductions in operation costs and the potential for redeployment of valuable resources by decreasing miles travelled, maximising stops and lifts per hour, balancing workloads across the week and reducing the requirement for overtime. Real-time statistics and custom reporting also gives the opportunity for The Highland Council to continually improve the performance of rounds, further reducing costs and providing a better service to citizens through gradual, data and experience-led improvements.

How important is data to the project?

Data is central to this project. Six of Scotland’s seven cities have sought ERDF support to deliver Smart Waste projects during Phase 1 of the 8th City programme. These initiatives are being informed and underpinned by increased use of data to drive decision-making and deployment of services. This move towards a ‘systems approach’ requires a concomitant investment in waste data infrastructure and processes; however, unlike the wider transport sector - which has introduced significant use of data and digital technology to track deliveries and engage customers – waste management is effectively a reverse logistics process, without the supporting data/digital technology infrastructure.

Who to contact for more information?

For more information contact:

Brian Robertson, Smart Cities Coordinator at the Highland Council.

Phone 01463 702540 or email

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