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SIGAB – Information System for New Waste Management Model in Bogotá


A new waste management system, driven by information. Bogota has evolved its cleaning and recycling scheme, generating a profound transformation in the way in which citizens needs are met and garbage collection is managed. This model is based on the effective use of data and information. This initiative has allowed greater transparency in the actions of involved public and private organizations, an intense collaboration to provide the best service and enabling citizens active participation.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

In the past decades, Bogotá city has held several waste management models with severe difficulties, so it was necessary to "think outside the box" and conceptualize a new model in which information is the DNA to control and manage the quality service citizens have dreamed about.

The new waste management model was structured in a way in which the city was served in five exclusive waste areas, each one with a dedicated operator. This allocation, achieved through the bidding process, in which the best proposals were chosen for each city area, implied the need to integrate the five operators information as part of a unified operation and at the same time specialized in each area.

The advantages of achieving total city coverage and owning a versatile, friendly and efficient service delivery scheme, proposed, in turn, two additional challenges: ensuring that citizens receive a service with superior and equivalent quality standards, plus ensuring that citizens perceive district public administration "as a whole", through the received service, regardless of the operator that serves the specific zone.

The new waste management model has a system called SIGAB (Bogota Waste Management Information System) through which operation, financial, commercial and service information has been standardized. Each concessionaire has its own information systems for service provision and for its own management as a collecting, sweeping and cleaning company. These transactional systems were integrated through an interoperability platform that standardized information flows so that they are consolidated as a large district operation.

SIGAB allows to consolidate and validate necessary information to control service provision and offer information to the different actors through a web informative portal, a transactional portal, control and management dashboards for public agency and concessionaires, a mobile application for citizens and an open data flow for all stakeholders: academia, national and local government and general public.

The designation of specific roles to each waste management process actor has been essential to promoting the transformation of the city into a city with open government, in the matter of cleanliness and waste management.

THE DISTRICT GOVERNMENT: to establish game rules, define the high-level technological architecture, perform its structuring role, establish incentives, promote its use and, in general, is the transformation leader.

THE CONCESSIONAIRES: to build technological solutions detailed architecture, reuse specific components, develop SIGAB, create coordination mechanisms, innovate and improve continuously and generally is the leader in the development of technological capabilities.

CITIZENS: to be permanently informed about the service, take advantage of digital media, interact for service improvement, create a culture and set an example.

A fundamental component was to finance the entire new scheme including SIGAB through a tariff charged to citizens. This meant that UAESP should not use resources from its budget. During the next eight years of the concession, the service and SIGAB information component are guaranteed.

The difficulties that were presented in the past have been definitively fixed and nowadays, standardized and timely information is obtained throughout the value chain of service provision. Additionally, services have been enabled to empower citizens and strengthen public agencies to manage city resources and services.

National Government guidelines and standards were adopted on digital government, information security, enterprise architecture topics; and also District standards in matters of cartographic information management and open data.

Cutting-edge technologies have been adopted. Internet of things: vehicles are being monitored in real time for the entire city; Big Data: Millions of data are received daily, consolidated and analyzed to optimize routes and verify compliance with scheduled routes; Data analytics: there are mechanisms of data analytics and indicator dashboards generation; Cloud Computing: All services have been implemented in AWS and Azure Clouds; Mobility: A mobile application has been implemented so that citizens can view their services, track the vehicle that will collect the garbage at their home and take a picture when they see a need for collection service and send it with their mobile device so that the corresponding operator attends it.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

In the past two decades, the City of Bogotá tried several waste management models seeking for building an efficient service; however, they obtained partial achievements and could not consolidate a concept of control and continuous service improvement.

Different options were examined: hiring private service providers and creating specialized service operators. In 2012, sufficient resources were allocated to build a monitoring center with technological infrastructure, a platform for fleet monitoring and personnel dedicated to service control. Nevertheless, after several months, no concrete results were obtained and resources were wasted; to a large extent, due to not having timely and quality information.

Aware of the need to create a different model, UAESP identified the opportunity to incorporate, in the DNA of the service provision model, data exchange, open data services at every stage of service provision, and integrate it completely with the management and control processes.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

UAESP and Mayor PUBLIC SERVANTS created the conceptual model; 5 SERVICE PROVIDERS collaborated in data flow articulation with transactional systems and provided specific technical knowledge for service provision; CONCESSION AUDITOR controlled SIGAB strict compliance; TECHNOLOGY OPERATOR led technological platforms development and implementation; CITIZENS participated in cocreation sessions to identify their needs and incorporate them into the mobile application and citizen attention website.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

The public servants of the UAESP and the Mayor's Office; the service providers, five organizations: PromoAmbiental (Zone 1), LIME (Zone 2), Bogotá Limpia (Zone 3), Ciudad Limpia (Zone 4), Área Limpia (Zone 5); the technological operator; the concession auditing; citizens and control authorities.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

Waste management information is integrated, standardized, delivered timely and in real time to support decision making
Routes and costs optimization, greater service quality
UAESP owns opportune and complete information to facilitate its management
Citizens are informed and have mechanisms to interact with the new waste management scheme
SIGAB is a public good
Disruptive technologies are incorporated: the internet of things, big data analytics, cloud computing, mobile
The mobile app is becoming a classroom to teach people how to recycle
SIGAB has been presented as a success case in the Governing in Data Era International Meeting and other government scenarios
The first SIGAB version was implemented in record time: 8 months
Results have been measured through the consolidation and analysis of waste management system open data
We expect that most of Bogota citizens will use SIGAB to better recycle, collaborate, and obtain a high-quality and optimized service

Challenges and Failures

1. Technological architecture: SIGAB requires the creation of a standardized and robust technological architecture that guarantees availability, security, and interoperability between the information systems of the actors involved
2. Actors articulation: SIGAB requires the articulation of all actors involved in waste management. Permanent information exchange and active use of information technologies have allowed UAESP and concessionaires to be articulated for guaranteeing continuous improvement and higher quality in the city public waste service
3. Go to the public: SIGAB requires to give empowerment to citizens. Different services have been enabled so that citizens can be informed, interact and be part of the solution of the new city waste management system. However, without proper offering and without accompanying the citizen in the use of services, it is not possible to guarantee a correct appropriation
4. Citizens needs: SIGAB requires to incorporate and satisfy citizens needs

Conditions for Success

UAESP General Director and Mayor's leadership in promoting a solution that solves the underlying problem
UAESP bringing specialized knowledge from concessionaires and market, creating innovation environments in which everyone participates collaboratively
Participation and determined collaboration of service providers to coordinate, be willing to deliver the best information and participate in a new way of serving the waste service, despite being working in a certain way for several years
Human resources from all actors with the intention of improving the city living conditions and provide technical contributions and experience
The creation of an information technology operator, to be solely responsible for enabling platforms and coordinating all actors
A citizen focus, allowing decision making with the purpose of meeting citizens needs and privileging service quality and timeliness
Well roles specialization and game rules so that everyone does their part, wins and contributes


This new scheme for managing waste service can be replicated in other cities of Colombia, Latin America and other countries in the world. It has been shown that with this scheme, control and information problems are fixed and citizens are empowered.

In the next years, UAESP will consolidate itself as an organization that takes advantage of information and generates knowledge for waste service management.

This new model will promote regulatory reforms to allow the strengthening of waste schemes in Colombia. Therefore, an example will be given so that regulatory organizations will improve regulations and favor a higher quality and information-driven service provision.

Lessons Learned

Public policy development has three clear moments that must be handled adequately: prefeasibility, viability, and sustainability.

Prefeasibility: to evaluate the way in which it is possible to project the transformation, execute analysis of favorable and unfavorable conditions to bring transformation to reality, identify interests and incentives from and for the different actors, establish a regulatory framework, identify resources and real possibilities of achieving the transformation in operation, and really important, understand the reasons why it did not work and what successes achieved those who tried to make the transformation. In this stage, you have to convince key people.

Viability: to determine the way in which the transformation can be specified and executed, guarantee that the transformation can be achieved through contracting mechanisms, with involved institutions disposition, with available human teams and right incentives. Sometimes in a gradual fashion and occasionally in a radical way. Dynamics are given by deadlines and human teams who believe that transformation is important. In this stage, you must inspire those who will build tangible components for the transformation to materialize.

Sustainability: it is essential to massively mobilize citizens and people from involved public and private organizations for integrating the transformation as a daily experience and achieving a good innovation use and appropriation level. Here, you must inspire everyone with facts and motivate them to enjoy the transformation positive effects.

What we would like to share is that these three stages must be imagined, defined and projected from the beginning. If it is not done in the early stages, uncertainty and risks will grow and can seriously affect the development of public innovation.

Something that we would have changed is that we made bolder designs to demand more technology but existing regulations did not allow us to assure that the concessionaires were going to accept certain conditions. Because there were serious past difficulties with a political nature regarding waste issues, we thought it was safer to reduce our pretensions to ensure success even if the transformation did not have cutting-edge technologies. We preferred to negotiate the essentials and give in on some non-essential issues. However, now we think we could have been bolder. This is a complex challenge at the moment of the tension inherent in bringing interests together.

Anything Else?

SIGAB has achieved the articulation of all actors involved in waste management. From the beginning of the bidding process for conceiving the new scheme and during its execution, the permanent information exchange and active use of information technologies have allowed UAESP and concessionaires to be articulated for guaranteeing continuous improvement and higher quality in the city public waste service. This has been something that had never been implemented before in the city.

SIGAB has given empowerment to citizens. Different services have been enabled so that citizens can be informed, interact and be part of the solution of the new city waste management system. This development has converted the new waste scheme and its SIGAB information system into a citizens-driven innovation and an innovation toward citizens.