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Roadery: The Crowdfunding Road Repair App

Lack of funding for roads has cost millions in car repairs and injuries. Through crowdfunding, Roadery bridges this funding gap.

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If you’re currently living in Michigan, you're more than likely acquainted with the egregious conditions of our roads. Not to point fingers, but the civic authorities are restricted when it comes to funding our roads. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has its own web page dedicated to debunking many aspersions about their current methodology of road fix. To summarize that page, MDOT, more or less, confessed to not funding as much to our roads as their neighboring states. According to MLive, from a 2015 study, Michigan was ranked 50th (last in ranking) in terms of funding their own roads. In order to bridge that lack of funding, Roadery proposes to fix roads by crowdfunding pavement costs through our app. 

Now, is the lack of funding the only one to blame? What about our deadly Winter? Surely, the Michigan cold is a detrimental factor towards our roads. This entails a lot more problems than just a lack of funding. Since there is constant damage being done to our roads, how do we detect all of these damages? Using Machine Learning and cutting-edge technology, Roadery will be able to detect potholes by analyzing the calibration data of our user’s phones when driving (but only with their consent). Thereafter, we use this data to classify if a user has driven over a bumpy portion of a road and can correctly classify it as a pothole. These newly found potholes would then be suggested to our users as a potential project to be funded towards.

Additionally, better roads are vital in many ways when it comes to the development of a community. Lancelot et al. conducted an impact evaluation study on the correlation of better roads and city development. Lancelot et al. has found that, “improvement of physical accessibility would contribute to increase travel demand to markets, schools, and health services. This would, in turn, contribute to improved education, better health, and increased business opportunities. Finally, it would result in long-term household income growth.” That is exactly the impact we envisioned with Roadery: we want to see a better-connected community filled with opportunities. 

Firstly, before our pilot phase, we will run a public poll to find out the worst potholes (or portion of roads) that our drivers, residents, workers, and visitors commonly pass (or drive) by. Depending on the lack of responses for the public poll, the surveying phase may carry over to the start of the pilot phase and we will have to utilize the initial $6500 funding and extra, if needed, to proliferate for responses. At the start of our pilot phase, these potholes will be our immediate priority and we will focus on raising funds to fix those potholes (or roads). By focusing on the most high traffic and poorly funded areas, we will increase initial customer satisfaction. These documented potholes will be prioritized based on how bad the condition is and how populated that portion of the road is.

Secondly, if our strict timeline schedule for the 2020 pilot phase permits, we will also find where the most needed biker lanes and worst sidewalks are, raising funds for those categories, respectively.

Once the funds have been raised, we will work closely with Wayne County and the City of Detroit to have their certified pavement contractors restore those potholes. This will, in turn, explicitly create more job opportunities for pavement contractors in the area. 

Moreover, it’s no surprise that the county doesn’t have enough money to fund every road possible. Roadery will pivot the mentality of having one single entity (government) to care for roads into a mentality of working together as a community (including our government) to own our roads. 

Lastly, the current method of road fixing is a very long and complex process. On a very high level, the civic authorities have to document every pothole, then prioritize with their limited funding--leaving many of the roads we want to see renovated undone--and then they execute the reparations. However, with Roadery, the community will be able to target specific locations they desire to see renovated without waiting for the government or county to start the project.


Reference:

MDOT Debunking: https://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151-9620_67533---,00.html 

MLive Survey: https://www.mlive.com/news/2015/02/michigan_spends_less_on_roads.html

Lancelot et al: https://blogs.worldbank.org/transport/do-better-roads-really-improve-lives

How will your solution benefit residents, workers, or visitors in the Michigan Central Station impact area? (1,000 characters)

With Roadery, we are able to achieve: 1: Happier communities: The community will be able to target specific locations they desire to see improved without waiting for the government or county to start the project. 2: Faster Renovation: Fix roads faster by allowing the public to create jobs and paving contractors to start working when funding goals are reached. 3: Increased job opportunities: Enable plenty of open road paving job opportunities to contractors; as well as the implicit connectivity of opportunities through better roads. 4: Save Governmental Road Fundings: The majority of road projects will be publicly funded and not money used from the government funds. Within the next year, with our key players of regular drivers, pedestrians, bikers, neighbors, residents, business owners, and more, together, we can all see the change that we want for our roads.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

We made a limited survey regarding Wayne County Roads: all respondents had a pothole in mind they wanted to see fixed, 72% of respondents are unhappy with their town’s roads, and 60% were willing to donate. One of their biggest complaints is that they already pay gas taxes to fix roads, but the funds raised from gas tax isn’t enough to fix all roads. We proposed incentives in the form of tax write-offs and local businesses discounts; after reviewing them, people were more likely to donate.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

1. Idris Hanafi is the lead software engineer 2. Alexander Georges, or Zander, is the lead designer for the mobile and web app 3. Austin Lewis is leading business development and finance 4. Adam Hanafi works as the marketer, manages our social media, and will be contacting counties and engaging social interests 5. Muhammad Hamdan is a software engineer for the mobile and app platform 6. William Fallon is a software engineer and runs as the advisor for the development platform

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Team or Organization URL

Not Available

Are you submitting as a student team?

  • Yes

Are you submitting as a team from the Impact Area?

  • No

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

Our expenditure for the pilot phase within the impact area: - For all of our tech licensings and software, totals to $12,100. - Hire a marketing person at the rate of $20/hour for 10 hours/week, totalling $10,000. - Hire a software engineer at the rate of $20/hour for 40 hours/week, totalling $20,800. - Advertisements totals to $45,000. Our rough budget will total around $81,000 for the whole pilot phase, hence we will request the ceiling value of $100,000 for funding.

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

1st quarter: - Hire engineers to finish the development of our mobile and web app - Retrieve partnerships with Detroit and Wayne County to get the pavement contractors to gauge of funding needed for surveyed potholes - Finance and marketing teams will look into spreading Roadery through local press for free 2nd quarter: - Release mobile and web app to the public - Purchase mini-sign ads and place within the impact area and gather media interests - Send out hardcopy fliers to get the attention of local communities 3rd quarter: - Government’s certified pavement contractors will start the restorations for fully funded projects. - Gather user feedbacks and suggestions - Market local town government incentives such as local tax write offs for donors. Create partnerships with local businesses to provide discounted services as incentives for donating - Rent out billboards within and near the impact area 4th quarter: - Utilize the remaining funds to advertise to the County

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

The most notable metrics that we want to achieve for the pilot will be the following: - The number of projects fully funded within the impact area exceeds 10. - Total money raised exceeds $30,000. - The community engagements reach at least 25,000 people. - Total revenue exceeding our minimum sustainability cost.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

Our current source of revenue for Roadery is a 3-5% commission from the crowdfunded money. After the pilot, we intend to release this for the whole of Michigan and the US, broadening our revenue sources to the serviceable available market. On top of that, we will pursue investments from the county, MDOT, civic authorities, Angels, and more.

Social Media

Instagram/Twitter/Facebook: @RoaderyApp

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Update 11/8/2019: I just drove over the bridge by the Ford Headquarters (Michigan Ave) and my front right tire now has a tear on it.

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