Potholes are an ongoing plague for our fair city and I think technology could greatly improve finding road issues as well as prioritizing, and organizing road repairs.
Reporting a pot hole is not a simple and straightforward process:
Minneapolis pothole report website: http://311.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/Ef3/General.jsp?form=SS001PW00StreetsPotholeRepair&page=Email
The online reporting process could be greatly improved.
Road data could be collected by smartphones:
The city of Boston has already started looking at this, but I don't think their implementation should be the only implementation. Their system uses the accelerometers on smartphones to show where potholes are.
One huge criticism of this idea is that only rich areas have users with smartphones and therefore rich areas get priority. I believe this can be partially solved by installing smartphones that run a pothole detecting app on city buses.
In addition to the idea of using smartphone accelerometers, I believe phone cameras and social media could be used to help us fight this battle against road issues. What if users could rate how bad a pothole is or correct the location or put up pictures so that MNDOT can see how bad the issue is?
Info on Boston's project:
I think a discussion about this topic could spark something that changes our city for the better. I hope you think so too.
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