Investigating Innovations in Litter Collection

ODOT invests substantial resources every year removing trash from the highways. These efforts not only help maintain the beauty of Ohio, but also support a safe transportation system by moving potentially hazardous obstructions away from traveling vehicles, mowing equipment and specialized habitat and pollinator areas. There are a variety of efforts currently underway in Ohio to address the litter issue. Current practices are not only costly, but individuals are put in harm's way close to moving traffic. This risk is evident from the tragic incident in 2022 along I-75 involving a sheriff deputy and inmate cleanup crew. Not only are there safety hazards from traffic, but also from the debris being collected by hand that can often include needles, drug paraphernalia and items containing human waste. Whether it is an ODOT worker, Adopt-A-Highway volunteer, contractor, or inmate crew, ensuring the safety of those collecting litter along Ohio's roads is critical. Dealing with litter is further complicated by terrain. Ohio has a very diverse landscape. While some areas of the state are flat and spacious, other areas are hilly with lots of curves and trees growing close to the roadside. Some of the rural two-lane portions of the highway system have very little shoulder that is accessible. The goal of this research is to identify new and innovative programs, processes, or equipment to assist with the safe, efficient, and cost-effective collection of litter statewide. Objectives include (1) developing or identifying efficiencies for litter removal across the state, including, but not limited to rest areas, truck stops, on and off ramps, tourist attractions, and highways; (2) determining the benefit/cost analysis and justification of the various recommendations, and (3) developing an implementation guide of the various recommendations (inclusive of both processes and equipment) based on the best use-case scenarios for each recommendation. Research that enhances efficiencies, improves effectiveness, and increases safety in litter collection will help ODOT be more efficient and provide opportunities for flexibility in approaches and potentially reduce costs.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $226152
  • Contract Numbers:




  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Ohio Department of Transportation

    Research Program
    1980 West Broad Street
    Columbus, OH  United States  43223
  • Project Managers:

    Martindale, Jill

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Cincinnati

    Civil Engineering Department, P.O. Box 210071, 741 Baldwin Hall
    Cincinnati, OH  United States  45221-0071
  • Principal Investigators:

    Wang, Lei

  • Start Date: 20240419
  • Expected Completion Date: 20251019
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01913051
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Ohio Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 39161, 118077, 136666
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Mar 26 2024 1:54PM