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Can Street Sweepers Do More Than Just Sweep Streets?

by Ranger Kidwell-Ross
posted November 2020

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In September of 2019 we reported that five sweepers in the City of Ft. Collins, CO, were part of a pilot program with a company called Rubicon. The goal was to help improve efficiencies and provide more insight into the many miles of streets being swept by the City.

Steve Varnell As you will learn, a year downstream the sensor-equipped sweepers are serving as data collectors by scooping up information related to low-hanging tree limbs or poorly parked cars. Rubicon's software also allows the City to view where the sweeper had to go away from the curbline due to parked vehicles or other obstacles. Our Zoom interview is with the City's Senior Supervisor of Street Sweeping, Steve Varnell.

Says Varnell: "We want to know information like 'Did the sweeper clean a particular street, and if not, why not?' and 'How many vehicles did it have to go around on the route?' as well as other information about the existence of overhanging branches, potholes and more. Rubicon's software offers us better utilization of high dollar assets like our street sweepers."

Watch the video linked below to learn how the City of Fort Collins is leveraging these types of information in its street sweeping program. At the time of the interview with Varnell we also held a similar conversation with Conor Riffle, VP of the RUBICONSmartCity program that Varnell discusses. Riffle updated us on the variety of value-added information Rubicon currently makes available to its municipal street sweeping customers.

Together, these will provide you with a broad spectrum perspective of how Rubicon is providing enhancements to sweeping programs across the U.S. and around the world.

Click below to access the Zoom-based conversation, which is hosted on YouTube.

If you have questions or comments for Kidwell-Ross, you may reach him at editor@ To contact Steve Varnell, send email to

In the event you can't view the presentation below in this venue, or would prefer to view it at its YouTube location, the YouTube link is:

If you have questions or comments about this article, please let us know. If appropriate, we will append them to the article.

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