LAIA Keep Clean Web & Mobile App Project

Using technology (a web and mobile app), our project enables local residents and pedestrians to help keep Baltimore City clean. Keep Clean specifically helps track and raise awareness of litter. Litter is trash that does not make it into public trash cans. Baltimore city refers to these public trash cans as ‘Pedestrian Litter Receptacles’ (PLRs).

Keep Clean is an extension of the ‘Tracking Trash‘ Spatial Analysis Research Project completed by two Johns Hopkins doctoral students, Chris Kelley and Ramya Ambikapathi, in 2016.

This project, entitled “Litter-Free Baltimore: A trash collection policy framework based on spatial analysis and social media” was recognized as the winner of the 2016 Abell Award in Urban Policy. Some of its highlights include the follow:

  • ***FINDING: In some areas of Baltimore, trash cans (public litter receptacles – PLRs) are only placed every 7-9 city blocks, while in other areas, PLRs were placed every 2-3 blocks.
  • ***FINDING: The areas where there are only one PLR per every 7-9 blocks were designated as ‘Litter Hotspots” (pictured here in gray).
  • ***RECOMMENDATION: The city could save money and improve quality of life by more carefully targeting trash collection and litter reporting efforts.
  • ***RECOMMENDATION: Use technology – social media (twitter, facebook) to report litter issues.
  • However, this was not successfully implemented or maintained.

Read more about the Tracking Trash research report here.

Keep Clean provides a more direct technology-based solution (it is dedicated to the issue and can be installed on a resident’s phone), serves as a mechanism to report location-based litter issues, and stores a record of each report.

As such, various data analytics can be performed on collected date to find patterns, track and report litter issues to the local government, and provide better awareness of the litter problem overall.

See project webpage for more details.