Saturday, February 5, 2011

Va. man develops pothole app

Read this story at The Washington Post

I have been asking MCDOT to look into something like this to report pedestrian problems for a while now. It would only take a few reliable pedestrians with smart phones to asses a great deal of the pedestrian transportation system in a given area. A pedestrian safety app could utilize both the camera and GPS of a smart phone in conjunction with a brief description to notify MCDOT and SHA when there is a problem.

In June of 2008 I organized a pilot project test of PDAs used to gather pedestrian and cyclist conditions in downtown Silver Spring and East Silver Spring. While the data was not comprehensive, the 8 teams of two volunteers gathered more than 200 data points in under three hours. There data was a snapshot, but a continuously-updated, smart phone-based system could keep a running tab on things - including conditions at night, during inclement weather, and during construction.

Something akin to what I have set-up on Google maps could be used to collect data. The ability to overlay data from different sources could help MCDOT and SHA pick-up on formerly unseen patterns.

I have no idea what something like this would cost to maintain. The technology is off-the-shelf. Social media could play a major role. No training for the public needed. Include this in subsequent Street Smart campaigns. The possibilities are numerous...

Grab hold of the technology, Montgomery County. Find out what is going on with pedestrians - before they are hit.

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