Downtown Waste Sensor Program Unveiled at Smart Cities Week

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

By Scott Pomeroy

The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) at Smart Cities Week Sept. 27-29 unveiled a pilot waste sensor program designed to more efficiently track and manage waste in the Chinatown neighborhood of DowntownDC.

The conference, where the latest breakthroughs in smart technologies are showcased, provided the BID the opportunity to describe the pilot, in which 34 new, red Victor Stanley Relay™ Sensor and Service public waste bins will replace existing trash cans in Chinatown. This program, a partnership with the Mayor's Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, is designed to monitor waste bin fill levels with sensors that will send alerts when service is necessary. 

Installation of the new, red cans will begin this month in select locations in Chinatown. The BID has been using a an application, developed by Krumbs, to establish baselines and to help inform where sensors should be place.

The app and sensors are part of the BID’s "Sense, Report, Act, and Refine" official Global Cities Team Challenge project, which seeks to improve waste management in DowntownDC and create a program that can be replicated across the nation.

Andrew MacLeod, the operational support officer for the city of Edinburgh, Scotland was also on hand for Smart Cities Week to share his experiences with waste level monitoring. Through the use of sensors from Enevo, the city of Edinburgh has learned to effectively manage an annual increase in waste and maintenance needs during August for their annual Fringe Festival (which is equivalent to D.C.'s National Cherry Blossom Festival, which begins each year on the first day of spring.) MacLeod and Ali Riaz, CEO of Krumbs, participated in a panel moderated by BID Director of Sustainability Initiatives Scott Pomeroy regarding the changing dynamics of waste management and how technologies such as sensors can improve operations.

Smart City Media, the BID partner for the deployment of interactive digital kiosks in Downtown, was also on-site at Smart Cities Week, sharing with guests with the latest content updates for the Downtown pilot program. The kiosks, which will provide wayfinding, event listings, alerts, and other hyperlocal information relevant to where you are, will also serve as Wi-Fi hotspots and house environmental sensors that will inform city policies and programs. 

Of national news at the conference, the White House announced over $80 million in new federal investment in White House Smart Cities Initiative and a doubling of the number of participating communities in the program, which was launched in Sept. 2015.

Included in the $80 million were resources to assist the District, which committed to become a six gigabit community and to support business incubator 1776 (1133 15th Street), located in the BID, which will lead a coalition of cities, start-ups, and corporate partners dedicated to building smarter cities through entrepreneurship. 

For more information on any of the BID's sustainability initiaves, contact Scott Pomeroy at scott@downtowndc.org. For press inquiries, please contact Rachel Rose Hartman at rachel@downtowndc.org.

[Click here to view photos from Smart Cities Week]