Using existing CCTV cameras and cutting-edge analytics systems, Bullens Lane has become a site for testing how technology and data could enable a better city waste system.

This will allow the city to tackle the issue of waste dumping more efficiently and keep laneways – the busy and narrow city streets and pedestrian areas – even more clean, safe and free of garbage.

The details

In partnership with Nokia, this pilot enables data collection and real-time insights about the use of waste compacters and recycling bins in Bullens Lane. The objective is to explore how a system might better support users, those who service the site, and ensure the space remains a safe and healthy city space.

Due to the success of this pilot, we will expand to include a total of five laneways in 2022.

What we are trying to understand

The pilot allows data to provide an insight to questions such as:.

  • How much waste the Bullens Lane bins receive daily
  • The peak usage times
  • Alignment between waste collections and waste disposal.

The implementation of this pilot will identify opportunities for improved efficiencies and a potential for further engagement with users around awareness and behaviour.

What’s next?

We’re implementing this pilot in four new City of Melbourne laneways: Kirks Lane, Lacey Place, Caledonian Lane and Balcombe Place.

The data we collect will contribute to a more agile and intelligent waste system to support city businesses and waste service providers. It will also help promote correct use of the facility.

More on the technology

  • CCTV cameras – with number plates, faces and any other identifying visuals blurred before being sent to be processed
  • Nokia Scene Analytics Edge compute gateways
  • Video Analytics Platform
  • Power BI and Python Dashboards
  • SMS notifications.
  • Number of compactor and recycling bin users (How often people dispose of rubbish correctly?)
  • Amount of time the compactor is unable to be used (How often the rubbish compactor is not working due to incorrect disposal?)
  • Number of dumped rubbish events (How often rubbish is dumped in the laneway?)
  • Number of times the laneway is blocked by vehicles, excluding waste rubbish trucks (How often the laneway is blocked?)

This data is collected to:

  • support the people who service the bins. This helps us to understand waste patterns and make collections more efficient
  • support the people who use the bins. This helps us and our providers to identify if the facility appropriately matches their waste needs
  • understand and measure rubbish dumping events. This gives us the opportunity to identify causes for any dumping of waste and make changes so that people can dispose of waste correctly.
  • Video stream is sent from the cameras in Bullen’s Lane to Nokia Scene Analytics Edge Gateway in a secure server room in Sydney
  • The video stream is processed by blurring faces and number plates for privacy and changed into numerical information that appears on dashboards in real-time for easy viewing
  • SMS alerts are also sent to City of Melbourne’s waste service contractors when rubbish dumping occurs, the compactor should be emptied, or there’s a laneway obstruction. This helps keep the laneway clean and a healthy space
  • The information is also analysed for historical trend analysis to understand patterns of behaviour. This will assist the City of Melbourne in identifying and understanding opportunities for efficiency and create a safer and cleaner laneway experience in the future.

The City of Melbourne and Citywide as contracted service provider.

This data is stored permanently for any possible future analysis.



  • Timeline item 1 - complete

    Pilot development with NOKIA and Citywide

    January to July 2021

  • Timeline item 2 - complete

    Pilot launch in Bullens Lane

    July 2021

  • Timeline item 3 - complete

    Pilot live in Bullens Lane

    July 2021 till present

  • Timeline item 4 - complete

    Receive ACCOM award for artificial intelligence excellence

    November 2021

  • Timeline item 5 - active

    Development of system in four new sites

    December 2021 to March 2023


Emerging Technology Testbed