Case Studies

Route Optimisation Software enables Greater Cambridge Shared Waste to adopt a 4-day working week


Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Integrated Skills


  • Route Optimisation
  • Waste Management

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The Client

The Greater Cambridge Shared Waste (“GCSW”) service is a strategic partnership between Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council responsible for the collection of household bins in the city of Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire.

The Client Requirement

Integrated Skills (“ISL”) were contracted by GCSW to model detailed waste routes for a potential 4-day working week following successful trials by South Cambridgeshire District Council in January 2023. These 4-day working week trials were the first of their kind in the local government waste & recycling collection sector.

The proposed benefits of the 4-day working concept include:

  • Improved work-life balance for employees
  • Increased productivity
  • Attracting new staff
  • Reduced absenteeism

One potential challenge highlighted as part of the 4-day working week concept in waste & recycling collection services is the requirement to collect the same number of bins in 80% of the available time. The Client’s hypothesis before the optimisation project was that this would result in the requirement for additional vehicles and crews therefore increasing operational costs.

The geography of Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council is a mix of urban and rural areas in Southern England which is under pressure to build new housing. The 4-day working week model therefore had to also account for 2-years of planned housing growth in order to ‘future proof’ the waste collection service.

Greater Cambridge Integrated Skills

The Project

ISL has many decades worth of experience modelling waste & recycling collection services. Using the GIS based route optimisation software product RouteSmart-for-ArcGISTM in combination with the Highways dataset from Ordnance Survey, ISL imported the service location data supplied by the client and created a number of scenarios based on a range of differing parameter and constraint settings including:

  • Working hours
  • Working days
  • Varying collection types (properties/ collection points)
  • Participation levels
  • Housing growth
  • Inclusion/ exclusion of food waste

The Outcomes

The results of the modelling suggested that 4 additional vehicles would be required across the refuse, recycling and organic collection services. However, the optimisation project highlighted that 3 of the 4 vehicles would be required to cover new housing development growth alone, meaning that the move from a 5-day to 4-day working week could be managed with the addition of just one vehicle.

The routes have been successfully implemented and the GCSW teams are already seeing the wellbeing benefits of the new working arrangements.

According to Mike Parsons, Service Operations Manager at GCSW, “Reviewing the bin collection rounds and making them optimal was an essential element in bringing about a change to working practices. By taking this step now, the councils are in a good position for future years as the region continues to develop while still delivering high quality, sustainable services that ensure value for money for residents.”

Greater Cambridge Integrated Skills

About Integrated Skills Limited, RouteSmart Technologies and Ordnance Survey

We are based in Leeds, UK and are a specialist provider of route optimisation, in-cab service verification & navigation and waste management software solutions. Our routing and optimisation software solutions maximise efficiency through enhanced route planning resulting in reductions in fleet size, mileage, planning time and human resource, more balanced routes/rounds, more accurate ETAs and enhanced route management information. The software is used in operational and strategic environments as well as for scenario planning when introducing new customers, vehicles, routes and services.

ISL is the leading partner of RouteSmart Technologies Inc.™ for high density, door-by-door and street-by-street route optimisation software as used in Local Government Services, Postal Services, Newspaper Distribution, Environmental Services and in the Utility sector for meter reading, meter inspections and meter implementation programmes. RouteSmart’s underlying GIS technology is from ESRI.

Ordnance Survey is a UK government agency that creates, maintains and distributes detailed location information for Great Britain. They have been mapping the nation since 1791 and are currently spearheading Britain’s place as a world-leading geospatial nation. Via the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement local government in the UK can access various geospatial datasets including Highways.

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