Streets and Smart Cities

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Feb. 5, 2015. (San Diego) Cities across the country have a problem. They have roads, and those roads need maintenance. Infrastructure repair costs go up the longer that a road remains out of repair.

To repair a road costs $100,000 per mile, while replacing them can run upwards of $700,000. So it makes sense that cities are turning to technology in order to find roads in need of repair, and prioritize this repair.

San Diego has an app for that. It is called “Street Report” and you can find it in the app store. It is a solid app, which allows you to take a photo of the offending piece of street and submit it. This is a good idea. But this is just a step in the right direction.

Apps can advance the theory of the connected city, to the point where you can install it, and allow it to transmit and forget about it. In other words, you can do all that, and while you drive, the app will report the problem spots to the appropriate department in the city.

This is exactly how “Street Bump” works in the city of Boston. The app, according to the city’s website works as follows: “”Residents use Street Bump to record “bumps” which are identified using the device’s accelerometer and located using its GPS. Bumps are uploaded to the server for analysis. Likely road problems are submitted to the City via Open311, so they get fixed (e.g. potholes) or classified as known obstacles (e.g. speed bumps).”

We have a good start in “Street Report” and I have it on my phone. But it has a strong weakness. I cannot get out of the car and report on a bump if I am driving.

Of course, we all can input this information through the city web portal too.

Twitter: @nadinbrzezinski

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Categories: City of San Diego, Connected Cities, Infrastructure

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