How San Francisco Used City Data to Save $1 Million on Street Cleaning

How San Francisco Used City Data to Save $1 Million on Street Cleaning

Code for America, who connects city governments and web developers, releases some data on what it's learning as it leverages technology to achieve more impact with less money.

Jon Lombardo
  • 20 january 2011

The brilliant Code for America project — which connects cash-strapped city governments with cutting-edge web developers to achieve more impact with less money — has updated its blog with a story about how San Francisco used city data to save more than $1 million dollars on street cleaning.

Ed Reiskin, Director of San Francisco’s Public Works department, noticed that some street cleaning trucks were returning with little or no trash on certain days or routes. This compelled Ed to ask for tonnage logs — how much trucks weigh going out vs. how much trucks weigh coming in — to determine how to optimize city cleaning. After about a month of study, Ed’s team concluded that they could find significant savings by re-routing certain routes and reducing others. These changes would help the city to save its money (less gas, parts, and labor) and protect its environment (less pollution and water usage).

As Code for America sees it, this just one of myriad opportunities for cities to “follow the data,” tease out insights, and code better programs to run our cities and states.

Code for America is currently funded by a number of prominent philanthropic foundations. If you like what they’re working on, you can also donate here.

Code for America

[via @timoreilly]


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