Could garbage trucks become more silent?

This morning I left my hotel in the center of Antwerp. At that time, garbage was being collected in the narrow streets of the old town. I must admit, that I have much respect for the driver of that garbage truck. Narrow street, bikes driving around, people walking left and right, and then having to drive and turn backwards into a narrow street, without hitting anyone or anything. Waw. Respect. I would not be able to do that.

Of course, I did reflect on the sound aspects of this manoeuvre. The most striking sounds are the reverse motion alarm and the diesel engine. The guys shouting “left-left-stop” and “ok, go go”, are just light noises compared to the engine and the alarm. I do think electric trucks could be a huge benefit here. For the smell of course, but also for the noise. And since they often do not travel long distances, the battery recharging is probably possible overnight.

The reverse motion alarm is probably more difficult to avoid. It could be replaced by sensors and cameras, and some of the self-driving intelligence. But of course, what politician wants to be held responsible for reversing that law and then being confronted with an accident in their own town. And yet, it must be possible to make a safe and silent manoeuvre one day. Let’s cross our fingers.

Copyright picture = city of Antwerp