Philadelphia’s 311 OpenData is an excellent research tool to investigate our street trash problem. Philadelphia has used data to fight crime (link) for a long time, it’s now time to use Philadelphia’s 311 data to fight street trash!
We have many of the basic tools necessary for implementing a state-of-the-art street trash management system comparable to our crime data system. We need to increase the City’s focus on street trash and integrate our many resources into a concerted program to address this chronic problem.
In this post I want to show how the City’s 311 data system can be used to better understand our street trash problem and identify potential control strategies based on resident provided street trash data.
Analysis of January, 2017 311 Illegal Dumping Service Requests
There were 1,277 illegal dumping service requests in January, 2017 (link). My earlier posts showed that illegal dumping service requests are increasing and that illegal dumping requests are increasing as a portion of all 311 field service requests (link). What can we learn about the types and locations of trash being dumped?
We can use the photos submitted by 311 users to classify the requests by type of trash, dump site location and dump situation conditions. That’s just what I did.
I downloaded the 1,277 January, 2017 illegal dumping service requests from OpenDataPhilly, selected those requests that had usable photos (302 ) and then classified request by Trash Description, Dump Location Description, and Dump Site Characteristics. Here is a link to my on-line Google Sheet where you can view the classifications and check out the photos.
Click the Link field to view the resident’s submitted image. A new window will pop up showing the actual url with a small arrow . Click the arrow to navigate to the resident’s image.
I used a series of pivot tables to summaries of the Jan, 2017 illegal dumping requests. Here’s what I found out:
- Residential trash (36%) was the most common type of dumping request, followed by tires and construction debris (12% each), mattresses (10%), mix of trash types (9%) and TVs (7%).
- 66% of illegal dumping requests occurred on sidewalks, followed by 15% on/near vacant lots – buildings.
- 58% of dumping requests occurred at single event sites, 27% at multiple event sites ad 5% at chronic dumping sites.
- Big Belly’s accounted for 5% of Philadelphia illegal dumping service request sites.
- Loose litter accumulation accounted for 5% of Philadelphia’s 311 illegal dumping service requests.