Mobile app will keep your drive pothole free
Hazard tracker will speed street repair, says city
A new free iphone app may help smooth your morning commute.
The city will announce Friday the launch of SeeClickFix, a local hazard tracker that will speed pothole repair, said Andrew Greenhill, chief of staff for Mayor Bob Walkup.
The SeeClickFix system, and new SeeClickFix+ iphone app, will help the city maintain streets more efficiently, said Greenhill.
"This system will let us solve problems and save money," Greenhill said.
Drivers who wish to report roadway problems, such as potholes and overgrown median strips, can use the mobile application or SeeClickFix website to alert the city.
"The system will help us work on core, 311-type services such as pothole repair and other non-emergency calls. Graffiti, weeds in the median, abandoned vehicles and houses, that sort of thing," said Greenhill. "It offers an opportunity for people to help themselves."
Old system 'awkward'
Greenhill compared the old system of reporting a needed street repair with the "changing platform" the city is launching. In the old system:
- A citizen makes a call to a pothole hotline and leaves a message.
- A data entry staffer inputs the information into the city's system.
- The information is relayed to the streets department.
- A supervisor creates a work order.
- A repair crew is dispatched to fix the pothole.
Greenhill said the current workflow is "awkward" and rife with opportunities for miscommunication. Locations and descriptions are frequently inaccurate, making it difficult for repair crews to find a reported problem.
The new tracker eliminates many steps, allowing complaints to be immediately seen by city workers, said Greenhill.
Seeclickfix will allow a citizen to file a complaint with a photo and accurate GPS coordinates while they're at the site, he said.
"Better quality data will allow us to fix more potholes, more quickly," he said.
Seeclickfix will allow people to access data in real time.
"This allows us to increase transparency and accountability," said Greenhill.
All data will be publicly available. Users will be able to track city responses, and city crews will be able to see new problems near them when they are in the field.
The system offers recognition to users who report the most hazards by listing them on a leaderboard.
While SeeClickFix is used by other cities, Greenhill says that Tucson is the first major city to use the SeeClickFix+ iphone app. Free mobile applications will also be available for Blackberry and Android mobile phones.
City officials looked at other models for a 311 tech program, including fixmystreet.com used in Britain, and custom applications developed by Washington, D.C. and New York City.
Seeclickfixit was chosen, Greenhill said, because the system "required no back-end changes" for the city to institute, and was affordable.
Seeclickfix charged the city about $800 to incorporate Tucson into their system, and will be paid $200-$300 annually for a service contract.
"We'll be able to move money from running the (current) system to filling potholes," said Greenhill.
Keeping the buses on time
Greenhill said the city is also set to announce a mobile application that will offer real-time data on bus locations.
The bus tracker, to be launched in mid-February, will encourage "choice riders, who don't trust the bus schedule," to take public transportation, said Greenhill.
"They'll have the confidence of knowing exactly where the buses are," he said.