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Pothole-Free City

A new technological method to put an end to potholes.

Photo of Sarp Bilecen
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Potholes may seem like a minor annoyance, yet according to European studies they are a factor for 52.7% of all lethal accidents, and road maintenance is one of the largest burdens on the city budget.
Perhaps unintuitively, one of the major issues with road maintenance is finding where road damage is, and prioritizing between many. It is impossible for a few town engineers to know everything and correctly decide which to fix.
So the standard procedure is that cities receive information on roads through their engineers and "report a pothole" lines and apps. Which means, the citizens/complaints are the main sources of knowledge and here is the catch, all complaints are about major issues that are expensive and time-consuming to fix. No one complains about the tiny crack that just started forming!
We propose to add technology to this whole system, decrease the complaints for there will be no major issues to report anymore.
In a step by step form;
A) We propose to scan the streets 4 times every year using vehicles equipped with high tech acoustic scanners and cameras. Finding EVERY problem on the road network.
B) Because acoustics can determine the sizes of these issues, we can prioritize between each and every one of these. So engineers can fix small problems that are on their route, not just major issues. Caltrans suggests this saves 9 dollars for every dollar spent in one year. (Because potholes don't grow large any longer)
C) We propose software that can manage teams/engineers and any further complaints using a geographical information system, maps to visualise the issues.
Allowing the citizens to drive on perfect comfortable roads, all the while costing the city about 10 times less to maintain!

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

We presume the town engineers and public works officials will use the software system to manage their road issues. Citizen complaints can be integrated into this software, allowing new complaints to be dealt with more knowledge. Simply; 1) A scan will be concluded through mentioned scanning vehicles. This will upload the entire road network into the software. 2) On the software, the department of public works can see where each and every road damage is, their size, importance, and photographs. 3) The software can both be manually used to assign tasks to maintenance teams and engineers, alternatively, the system can also be automated to the preference of the public work. The system is designed to be efficient and easy to use.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Fully Scaled - you have already scaled your solution and are exploring new use cases

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

We are currently using this system to maintain over 4000 miles of roads, handling road damage for the traffic of 3 million people every day. Through use cases, we have seen that complaints can be decreased up to 50%, and maintenance costs can be decreased up to 82% depending on area/usage.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

We are a team of 5 young entrepreneurs, and our work can be found on our website . We are passionate about city management and we believe in sustainability and efficiency as our primary values. This is why we have formed a company to assist cities with new technologies, handling many issues from road safety to park management.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Team or Organization URL

Funding Request

  • $50,000

Rough budget (500 characters)

We'll transport and integrate our hardware system to a vehicle in Austin and start the scanning of the given area. There will be relatively low server and connectivity costs. We anticipate the whole pilot will cost approximately ~40.000.

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

We'll transport and integrate our hardware system to a vehicle in Austin and start the scanning of the given area. Depending on the size of the area the funding required may be less than the anticipated budget. The scanned data will be conducted through a mobile network and transferred to a server. On this server, users will be assigned roles, and their dashboards will be configured to fit ease of use. During the pilot, new features may be added to the system that meets the cities demands. We already have hardware built and software developed for this issue, thus we won't be needing any funding for previously developed technologies.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

We would like to launch a full city scale solution in Austin as a pioneer in the surrounding states and cities. In order to do that, we first would like to demonstrate that you can benefit from finding and fixing road issues. This small pilot will show two very important developments in the city. One will be seen immediately after the first scan, a decrease in complaints. The second, savings in the budget use will be visible in 6-12 months.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

A major cost in our idea is the integration, vehicular and transport costs. After the pilot we will keep the integrated vehicle in Austin, making it very sustainable and scaleable to nearby cities. In this case, we expect Austin to request two city-wide scans per year, this will be sufficient to keep the vehicle in Austin.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Ahmad Shreidi

Hey, I'm a facilitator here with the Challenge. Excellent Idea Sarp! Keep the submissions coming we would love to keep hearing from you!

There is a networking event coming up at The Capitol Factory from 6:00 to 8:00 on October 21! We would love to see you there!

Register at the link below!