Road cleaning and waste collection are two of the main responsibilities of local governments worldwide. It is an activity inherent to cities since the first sedentary settlements of the Sumerian civilization appeared. Today, city councils hire this service from companies that compete to offer differential value to their customers. But how to innovate in a sector that is over 9,500 years old?
Ferrovial collects and treats every year the waste produced by more than 27 million citizens. Its sophisticated management systems enable them to optimize the service continuously. But the final result by which the company is evaluated does not depend entirely on its capabilities, but is also linked to the level of awareness of its beneficiaries, citizens. The sociodemographic and cultural characteristics of a city strongly condition the success or failure of cleaning projects. That is why Ferrovial decided to rely on Kuorum to create a new service that took into account the real needs and interests of citizens from the initial stages of the design.
Kuorum is a technology that allows companies and governments to involve citizens in the design of public services and policies. Our clients in six countries launch surveys, debates, consultations and other participatory processes that permit not only to study public opinion but to assign a leading role to citizens in the construction of the city. Combining the collection of online data with street surveys, focus groups and other quantitative and qualitative methods, we can draw a detailed map of the uses and customs of citizens and the motivations that push them to act in a certain way. This allows us to propose disruptive solutions to everyday problems that would otherwise have become entrenched once the service was implemented.
A paradigmatic example is that of the management of the organic fraction of household waste. The municipalities are required by regulations to increase the proportion of bio-waste that is managed in a distinguishable way. Some service companies restrict themselves to distribute brown containers across the municipality. But this is of no use if citizens do not separate this type of garbage in his kitchen. Thanks to our studies, Ferrovial identifies those cities where there is a potential ecosystem conducive to compost generation. Cities with large green spaces in which farmers, gardeners and residents of the town collaborate to combine logging with food waste and generate a compost that fertilizes agricultural land. The feeling of belonging to the project that is achieved in these circular economy ecosystems is so powerful that even some neighbors become compost masters, devoting free time to tasks of monitoring and maintenance of composting facilities.
In short, thanks to Kuorum technology and its experience in user-centered design techniques, Ferrovial can develop more efficient road cleaning and waste collection projects. Unlike other companies, Ferrovial designs services that adapt to the idiosyncrasy of each community thus ensuring higher recycling rates. And, consequently, local governments that rely on Ferrovial can meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and those marked by the European Union circular economy regulatory package, approved in 2018.