A common issue that frustrates most motorists and cyclists is potholes. At some point when travelling on a local road you’re going to come across a pothole, if you’re lucky you might avoid it but for some, it can result in serious damage to your car.
But it isn’t a simple problem when it comes to potholes, in a recent report highlighted by ITV, it is becoming increasingly clear that the issue lies in funding. One in five local roads are in poor condition, it’s estimated that 20% of carriageways in England and Wales have less than five years of life remaining before they become unusable – that equates to 40,000 miles of roads.
According to the annual review by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), it’s due to a massive spending deficit. Instead of local roads, funds are directed towards the strategic road network. This deficit is putting increasing pressure on local authorities to try and resolve the issues with minimal resource.
The need for a solution is growing increasingly desperate, with an average of 50 cyclists being killed or seriously injured every year due to poor road conditions. For drivers, 39% of AA members claimed their cars had been damaged by potholes, costing an estimated £730 million every year. For local authorities, this results in compensation claims totalling £30 million.
It is an expensive, dangerous problem that is causing increasing strain on resources, culminating in longer waiting times for repairs to take place. At the same time, the costs of damages and claims for both motorists and local authorities are spiralling.
A new approach is required, something that enables road services to do more work with their existing workforce. A potential answer lies in mobile technology.
By using mobile technology, road services can be more reactive by streamlining current processes and removing lengthy manual activities. Implementing a solution like field service management enables ground-breaking possibilities. A road service engineers day can be transformed. Reporting a pothole could be performed through an app on your mobile device, easily used by the public and by road services. Once the pothole has been reported, a notification could be sent directly to the field-based team leader’s mobile device. Depending on the severity the worker may need to inspect the pothole immediately; work could then be scheduled automatically, adjusting the day of work accordingly or if the priority is lower, schedule the repair for later in the week.
Once onsite, the mobile worker can fill out a quick and easy-to-use form specifically for pothole repair, detailing the issue and taking images for evidence and compliance. With all the relevant job information on their device, they are able to repair the pothole, mark the job as complete – triggering a notification to the person who reported it. The repair is completed quickly and efficiently, allowing the field team to move on to the next job.
The process from incident reporting through to completion is significantly streamlined with the use of mobile technology, to the benefit of road users and local authorities. With more efficient monitoring, the life spans of our roads are prolonged providing long-term cost savings.
Mobile technology, like mobile workforce management and dynamic scheduling, remove paper-driven work and the manual scheduling of jobs. Instead, with these processes being automated time is saved, reducing cost and increasing the capacity of the workforce to complete more jobs per day. Mobile technology unlocks the ability to reduce the time it takes to repair a pothole, in response the cost of damage to vehicles and in claims is also lowered.
With the right mobile technology in place, the pressure on the existing mobile workforce can be alleviated, they are able to do more of the essential work required without the need to spend their budget on increasing resources and the plague that is potholes can be resolved.