Enhancing ADOT Communications to Reduce Highway Litter in Arizona

ADOT is responsible for litter removal along the state highway system. Clean-up efforts, which cost more than $4 million each year, are funded and implemented through a myriad of programs that include the Adopt a Highway Volunteer and Sponsor programs operated by ADOT Communications and Public Involvement (Communications) and the maintenance conducted by the Engineering and Maintenance Districts. ADOT is committed to keeping the state’s highways clean, but meeting the demand for litter removal with existing resources is increasingly challenging. Litter along ADOT highways may be increasing. Complaints to ADOT related to litter have risen concurrent with the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic prompted reductions to or deferrals of many litter removal efforts in the state. For example, due to pandemic lockdowns, the Arizona Department of Corrections suspended its program that provided ADOT with inmate labor for litter abatement in some parts of the state. Also over the past year, while signups for the Adopt A Highway Volunteer program have risen, actual participation is significantly down and volunteer groups have been challenged by the need to remain small and socially distanced. Compounding the COVID-19-related challenges, ADOT is observing a new type of trash: personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and masks in use during the pandemic. The national organization Keep America Beautiful estimated that at any given time in late 2020, approximately 207 million pieces of PPE litter were on the ground. In 2020, in response to these issues, Communications initiated messaging to the public with the objective of reducing littering along the state highway system, and staff see promise in further targeting of specific audiences. A better understanding of the sources, locations, and types of litter, as well as of whether the littering was accidental or deliberate, will help Communications develop messaging campaigns that focus on distinct litter problems in specific locations on the state highway system.


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    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01831509
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Arizona Department of Transportation
    • Contract Numbers: SPR-781
    • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Dec 22 2021 7:23PM