CDOT Testing New Technology at Poudre Rest Area

December 4, 2012 - Northeastern Colorado/CDOT Region 4 - Technology will help increase maintenance efficiency.

WELD COUNTY — The words “big” and “belly” do not generally imply efficiency when paired together. However, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is testing a little-known technology that could improve efficiency in how the department operates. CDOT has purchased and installed 11 BigBelly Solar Garbage Compactors at the Poudre Rest Area located on Harmony Road just west of I-25 near Fort Collins. The compactors will replace traditional/standard trash cans used for garbage collection.

“These garbage compactors are basically 'smart' trash cans that run on solar energy,” said CDOT Deputy Maintenance Superintendent Phillip Anderle. “These intelligent systems will use modern technology to help our maintenance crews determine when trash bins at the Poudre Rest Area need to be emptied. Compactors can be monitored remotely via computer or smartphone, so staff will only have to go to the rest area when a compactor sensor registers that it needs to be emptied.”

By knowing exactly when visits to the rest area will be needed, crews are expected to increase the efficiency of their work. In the long run, the compactors are anticipated to save money, reduce the volume and frequency of trash pickups, conserve fuel, save staff time, and decrease wear and tear on CDOT vehicles. These benefits, if proven successful over the course of the trial period, will help spark the installation of this technology in four additional rest areas in northeast Colorado.

The system being tested at the Poudre Rest Area cost about $55,000. CDOT expects to recover the cost of the system within the next eight years or so and expects to see immediate efficiencies in the amount of staff time allocated to rest area maintenance as well as reduction in fuel consumption.

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