If you're a city official, it probably comes as no surprise to learn potholes cause an estimated $6.4 billion in vehicular damage annually in the United States. Drivers in your city who encounter potholes face two choices -- drive over the failed pavement and sustain direct damage to their vehicles, or swerve to miss the potholes and risk colliding into other vehicles. The fact that potholes are among the top 20 causes of vehicular accidents in the United States proves many people choose the latter option.
As a city official, what can you do to lower the amount of damage and number of collisions caused by potholes? You can help implement a system of early pothole detection and repair. Read on to learn more.
What Is Automated Pothole Detection?
If your city relies on a dedicated work crew to traverse the streets looking for signs of potholes, it's wasting a lot of valuable time and money. Many cities have seen great success by implementing an automated system to locate and report potholes to those in charge of repairing them.
How does an automated pothole detection system work? Vehicles that travel the roads and highways of your city are equipped with GPS systems, G-force detection sensors, and some form of Internet access. As these vehicles drive over a pothole, the sensors detect the slow-down and/or jarring of their vehicles. At the exact moment a detection vehicle's sensors detect a pothole, the GPS system makes note of the location of the vehicle, and then the information is combined into a report and sent via the Internet to a city office or pavement repair crew.
This Sounds Expensive. Is It?
When you take into account your city is responsible for paying for the damages caused by potholes, automated detection is actually quite inexpensive. The system relies on just a few main components, most of which you already have access to.
Vehicles. There's no need to buy new vehicles and hire drivers to run them. Instead, you can install the necessary equipment on vehicles that already spend their days traveling your city streets. Public buses, garbage trucks, mail carrier vehicles, taxis, and police vehicles are all capable of carrying the equipment needed for early pothole detection.
Sensors And Tracking. Next, you'll need devices capable of pinpointing locations and detecting g-force. Fortunately, 65 percent of all Americans already carry devices equipped with these technologies right in their pockets. That's right -- regular smartphones have both GPS systems and accelerometers built right into them.
Reporting Platform. Finally, you'll need a program that tells the smartphones you'll be using for pothole detection to collect the right bits of information and then automatically transmit that information to a centralized location. There are pre-designed apps available for purchase, or you can hire an app developer to design an app that transmits the data directly to your specific city office, or directly to the road crew in charge of repairing potholes in your area.
Ask your developer to focus on an easy-to-navigate user interface and include an on/off toggle switch if the drivers in charge of pothole detection will be using their own smartphones for the job.
As a city official, you have a responsibility to limit vehicular damage and accidents caused by failed pavement. Potholes are easier and less expensive to fix if caught in their early stages. Don't designate a few weeks a year for your road crew to go out and look for visual clues of potholes. Instead, implement an inexpensive, automated pothole detection system for real-time pothole reporting and faster pothole repair.
Check out sites like http://bitroads.com for more info.