Philadelphia has taken a major step forward with the recent release of the interactive 2017 Litter Index map (link) and supporting data (link).
In my January, 2017 post, I compared Philadelphia’s earlier litter index to the then recently released LA Street Litter Index. LA had made significant improvements in their index. I am thrilled to report that one year later, Philadelphia has a state-of-the-art litter index that provides litter status data for every street segment in the City.
The new index is based on city block surveys where surveyors assessed the litter situation on a 4 point scale:
- Little to no litter
- Litter, in the amount that can be picked up by one person
- Litter, in the amount that would need a team to clean up
- Litter, requires a large clean effort and/or heavy machinery to remove
Surveyor data included date(s) of survey, litter count for the block as well as a link to field photograph(s).
Users can download the City’s detailed litter survey data at 3 levels of detail:
- Detailed Survey Points – detailed data for each survey point
- Street Segments
- Ward Divisions, aka voting precints
The data is available in CSV files, shapefiles and GeoJSOn files. The best place to start is to look at the Metadata for the point, line and polygon data.
I have started analyzing the 2017 Litter Index Data for Council District 8. These 2 maps show the point survey data and the block – street segment data for Council District 8.
Congratulations to the City’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet for implementing this comprehensive litter measurement system. This data will help community groups, individuals, litter activists and City Departments to focus attention on both city-wide and neighborhood priorities and measure progress as we work together to solve the City’s chronic street trash problem.
NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center is forecasting up to 20-inches of rain for Texas coastal areas over next 7 days (link).
Corpus Christie and Houston are in 20+ inch total 7-day rainfall belt, New Orleans is in the 4-6 inch belt.
Here’s an ArcGIS 10.3 map of the WPC forecast to show the rain belts and Texas – Louisiana cities.
Best wishes to all in path of this major flooding event.
I previously wrote about Philadelphia’s innovative use of technology to identify potential vacant buildings and properties in this Nov. 16, 2016 post. The data is readily available on the OpenDataPhilly site (link to data).
This article provides background information on how the City develops the Vacant Property Indicators. In this post I want to show how citizens can field verify the Vacant Property Indicators data.
In my District 8 travels, I found a number of chronic illegal dumping sites, including the 400 Block of Collom Street.
Trash Photo: 4/2/15
Trash Photo: 4/2/15
Based on my visits to the 400 Block of Collom St, I know that there is a large vacant commercial property and building that is used as an illegal dumping site. I wanted to see how the City’s Vacant Property Indicator data assessed this properties in the 400 Block of Collom Street.
Using ArcMap 10.4, I developed a map included the Vacant Property Indicators and the Philadelphia Department of Revenue parcel boundaries. Here is a screenshot of the resulting map:
The Vacant Property Indicator (11/16 version latest available on OpenDataPhilly) does not show 437 Collom to be vacant.
September, 2016 Google StreetView photography is available for the 400 Block of Collom Street. Here are screenshots looking NE and SW.
Google StreetView and my repeated visits to the site confirm to me that 437 Collom St is vacant while the Vacant Property Indicators do not classify the either the property or building as vacant.
I will raise this finding with the OpenDataPhilly Discussion Group (link) and will report back on any updates.
LA is using ArcMap, dashcam, GPS and cameras to develop detailed street cleanliness index. Click this link to see an interactive Story Map of this innovative use of GIS to tackle a pressing urban problem.
Cleanliness Indexes are available by 39,915 street segment and are summarized into operational grids.
Philadelphia, like LA, has a serious street trash problem. We need to dramatically improve our street cleanliness efforts. Following LA’s Clean Streets Index would be an excellent start for the Mayor’s Zero Waste & Litter Cabinet.
(Philadelphia’s Zero Waste & Litter Cabinet released a significantly enhanced 2017 Litter Index in February, 2018. Please see that post to see how the City has improved the Litter Index to a level comparable to LA’s index (LINK)
Philadelphia has been using a litter index to assess street trash conditions since 2007 (link). Here is the most recent litter index, downloaded from OpenDataPhilly. The actual dates for the litter survey data is not provided.
Philadelphia’s Litter Index provides a 1-4 composite score for 111 trash collection day area in the City. The City’s meta data file states:
The Litter Index is used to compare the relative cleanliness of different areas of the city of Philadelphia. he relative cleanliness of different areas of the city of Philadelphia.
Originally created in 2007, the Litter Index is used to compare the relative cleanliness of different areas of the city. The Litter Index is scored on a 1-4 scale with 1 being minimal litter and 4 being extremely littered.
The City’s Litter Index has a number of shortcomings which limit its usefulness as a City trash hot spot identification and management tool.
- Data collection is based on relatively large areas, with an average of 2.2 square miles. Seriously trash street segments are masked when the data is averaged over such a large area.
- Street Litter Index Values for specific areas vary widely from survey to survey, raising concerns about the reliability of the underlying methodology (link).
- There is no relationship between 311 Illegal Dumping Service Requests and Street Litter Index.
Los Angeles has developed a Street Cleanliness Index (link) which provides detailed street segment by segment data not available in Philadelphia’s index.
Here is a short video describing how LA used a dashcam, smartphone camera and ArcGIS to score each street segment in LA.
LA uses assigns a 1 to 3 cleanliness score for Loose Litter, Illegal Dumping, Weeds and Bulky Items as well as a composite score. Here is an example of the LA Cleanliness Score Map , showing segments with Clean, Somewhat Clean and Not Clean scores.
With the LA method, the Not Clean (red) segments standout. Philadelphia needs to adopt a detailed street litter index score system like LA so that we can pinpoint the badly trash street segments and begin getting our trash problems under control.
District 8 has 4,049 street segments, 33.5% of them had 1 or more 311 Illegal Dumping Service Requests. 29 of these segments had 11 – 43 requests.
These chronic illegal dumping hot spots need enforcement attention. Removing the latest illegal dump just gives the dumper proof that his/her dumping will be handled by the City at no cost to the law breaker.
Click here or on the map image to see how Philadelphia’s 311 OpenDataPhilly files can be used by civic groups, City Councilors and others to identify critical hot spot problems in their neighborhood.