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Challenge / Goal

The goal is to reduce operational costs by decreasing miles travelled, maximising stops and lifts per hour, balancing workloads and reducing the requirement for overtime. The software also provides the ability to continually improve routing, including the ability to respond to population growth and new housing developments within the region.


The primary innovation was the procurement of Route Optimisation Software, which allows for the development of optimised waste collection routes. The software was procured after a vendors day and procurement process, and allows the waste collection team to input a number of data sets, and receive in return a number of optimised waste collection routes. 

Key steps in delivering this were:

  • Procure a route optimisation platform for waste collection
  • Employ a new member of staff for the duration of the project, to improve appropriate datasets and manage platform
  • Explore opportunities for further roll-out of optimisation software beyond waste collection application

Citizen participation

This project was delivered as part of the 'Scotland's 8th City - the Smart City' ERDF programme. 

All cities involved are committed to 'community and citizen stakeholder engagement' as an additional programme output - with engagement required pre-, during, and post-project delivery.

For this project, the following stakeholder engagement was noted:


  • A vendors day was held to help the waste team develop a picture of the market at that time
  • Engagement with THC ICT department to ensure compatibility with council systems
  • Engagement with ERDF team to ensure feasibility and eligibility of project
  • Engagement with other Scottish councils to develop an understanding of their use of route optimisation software
  • Engagement with THC senior management through council governance processes


  • Engagement with business support to gain access to appropriate data sets
  • Engagement with ICT to ensure the deployment of ICT assets matched the requirements of Route Optimisation software
  • Engagement with operational staff to provide additional qualitative data which would be generated
  • Engagement with trade unions to keep them up to date of planned and proposed changes


  • Addition to the council’s transformation programme opens up the project to further collaborative opportunities
  • Significant public engagement planned post COVID-19 to raise awareness of changes to waste collections routes
  • Additionally, throughout the project elected members are kept informed as part of the service’s normal governance process


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Time period

Planning time: 6 months to 1 year

Implementation time: 1 to 2 years


The Highland Council

Service providers

The Highland Council - Waste Management Services

End users

The Highland Council

    Main benefits

  • Recycling waste

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