Massachusetts expanding its pothole tracking program

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The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced that it is in the process of expanding its new, innovative pothole information program that was piloted in areas of central and western Massachusetts over the past year and includes an online MassDOT Potholes Dashboard that provides data to the public.

The MassDOT’s program features a user-friendly dashboard that includes a map detailing pothole locations and size, the number of potholes filled, the type of material used, and the total approximate cost of repairs. The agency can also use this data when making capital investments decisions to focus its resources on roads and areas that require consistent pothole repair, and manage its assets in a cost-effective manner that prevents emergency pothole repairs. The pothole repair program also includes a field application through which MassDOT road crews can input data outlining the date, time, cost and materials used to repair potholes. The data collection structure uses MassDOT’s Esri ArcGIS (Geographic Information System) systems to establish an interactive webpage. Once entered, that information then becomes viewable in real time to the public via the online dashboard.

The agency’s pothole program has been successfully piloted in the Springfield and Worcester areas and MassDOT will expand the service to the remaining districts over the next several months. MassDOT expects the application to be implemented in western Massachusetts near the New York border, southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands within the next month, and to the I-495 belt, North Shore, and Boston Metropolitan Area months later.

While it is not possible to track all repairs and activity, data collected during the pilot program shows that MassDOT made at least 310 pothole repairs on I-90, (Massachusetts Turnpike), between Sturbridge and Weston in 2016, and has conducted about 210 pothole repairs between Springfield and Weston from January to mid-February this year. The public can report potholes through MassDOT’s telephone ‘Pothole Hotline’, the agency’s website, or they can also be reported to the State or local police, who will contact the agency with the information.

“We are pleased this program has been successful thus far, and we are continuing to expand this innovative approach across the state,” noted Massachusetts Transportation Secretary and CEO, Stephanie Pollack. “By engaging the public, we gain the advantage of quicker response and repair times, which translates to safer, more efficient travel for everyone who uses the Commonwealth’s roads.”

MassDOT’s highway administrator, Thomas J Tinlin, commented, “This online dashboard showcases firsthand how dollars are being spent, and enables us to make more informed decisions regarding our resources and capital investments. We are committed to customer service and this public engagement and this information tool illustrates the daily efforts of our staff to make roads safe for travel. It allows us to better monitor road conditions and repairs, and then we are able to use this data when determining where we should initiate road reconstruction and resurfacing projects to ensure our transportation systems remain safe and reliable.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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