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Mind the gap: Pothole app in the works

2013-12-27 11:30

POTHOLE APP: British road users will be able to report potholes via a new app set to launched in February 2014. Could SA benefit from a similar app? Image: AFP

While South Africans still dodge potholes on local roads, the UK government has funded the development of an innovative smartphone application allowing the public to report damaged roads and mark them for other road users.

LONDON, England - The UK government has given the equivalent of R510 000 for the development of a smartphone application to report potholes, Roads Minister Robert Goodwill. 


The Department for Transport (DfT) pledged the cash to enable CTC, the National Cycling Charity, to revamp its ‘Fill that hole’ website and develop a new app compatible with smartphones running Android software.

The app sends local authorities information about potholes which councils might not be aware of.

The department reports that iPhone users can download the website’s current app to report potholed roads to their councils. The new app is expected to be ready in February 2014, at the start of “pothole season” when the winter damage to roads is at its greatest.

Goodwill said: “The government is serious about tackling potholes. At best they are an irritation but at worst they can damage vehicles and pose a serious danger to cyclists.

“That is why we want people to tell councils where to find them so they can fill them in. This app means more people are going to be able to report potholes more easily.

“Filling potholes in quickly is only one half of the story. Research has also shown a long-term approach to road maintenance, rather than patch and mend, can save councils and taxpayers money and potentially save lives thanks to better road conditions.”

According to the minister, CTC originally developed its app for cyclists, who can receive life-changing injuries from accidents caused by potholes, but now it’s used by all road users concerned about potential damage to their vehicle.

In 2013, around R405-million was paid in compensation by local authorities across England due to the poor condition of their roads according to the Asphalt Industry Alliance.

The support for the app comes as more local authorities adopt new government guidelines which urge councils to plan extensive maintenance well in advance, rather than years of costly ‘patching’ as potholes appear – saving the taxpayer money.


CTC chief executive Gordon Seabright said: “CTC has been working to ensure roads are safe for cycling since our foundation in 1878. We are delighted to have the government’s support for our ‘Fill that hole’ website and app, which are already highly effective ways for road users to get potholes filled.

“This partnership with the Department for Transport will enable us to provide this free service to far more cyclists and other road users. It’s also a great example of CTC and the government working together to get Britain cycling.”

Could South Africa benefit from a similar app? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts on Wheels24.

Read more on:    england  |  apps  |  potholes  |  drivers

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