Friday, August 19, 2011 - By Megan - No comments

On the Road to Empowering Communities

Back in March, our good friends at Pothole.Info highlighted SeeClickFix's success with pothole abatement, emphasizing how our platform both engages citizens and promotes efficiency in local government.  Recently, it examined how bicycling communities have started to self-organize and address pothole hazards with tools like SeeClickFix.
Most cities have a 3-1-1 system in place, but other phone apps such as SeeClickFix and SaveMyTire enable bikers to similarly report pavement problems to the appropriate municipalities (shoot a photo with a GPS-enabled smartphone and the report is made automatically).
According to Pothole.Info, there are 16 to 20 million bicycles sold each year in the U.S. With this increasing biking population, there has become an even greater incentive for bicyclists to resolve road hazards that may disrupt their commute and even cause injury. That's where SeeClickFix comes into play with its quick and easy reporting system:
It seems far more likely a biker with a smart phone will click a pic of a mean pothole than will a motorist who is 100 feet down the road before he or she realizes that awful “whump” was their car’s tire rim connecting with broken pavement.  
With our online and mobile technology, bicyclists can document potential road hazards on a public interface in real time---informing and connecting with local government and fellow cyclists with a few clicks of the mouse. Pothole.Info is just one website that has embedded our nifty map widget to raise awareness about issues related to infrastructure and transportation. Through this widget, concerned bicyclists can view what others have already reported and notify their local governments about potholes across the nation.

Through this citizen-generated content, roads not only improve, but citizens become empowered to remain active in their communities. We always say potholes can be the gateway drug to civic engagement. What does that mean? Well, when someone reports an issue (like a pothole) and sees that it's been fixed, he or she is more likely to remain involved and become engaged on an even greater scale, thereby creating a self-reinforcing loop. Those individuals view themselves as part of some larger social fabric, one in which they feel responsible for enacting change.

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