Boston creates app to report road problems
Since moving to LA, I haven't quite had to deal with the potholes that Spring in Chicago usually brings (not that roads are any better out here, but at least they don't have to deal with all of the freezing and thawing). But despite the yearly flat tires and ruined alignments, Chicago hasn't gone quite as far as Boston, where the city government has developed not one but two apps to enable its citizens to report on potholes and other city issues.
Citizens Connect is an app developed late last year by the city that enables locals to report graffiti, potholes, broken streetlights, and other urban issues in the Boston area, and now they're working on a new app, nicknamed BUMP (for Boston Urban Mechanic Profiler), that will automatically transmit road conditions to a central database using the iPhone's accelerometer and data connection. That seems tough to do with all of the extra noise that must come from an accelerometer, but they are working with a researcher from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, so maybe they will be able to pull it off. Interesting to see metropolitan areas like this using newer technology to keep an eye on what's up in their city. Of course, actually fixing the potholes will take a little more work, but knowing what's wrong is helpful.