Much like the bus timetable app for the Pittsburgh area we reported on previously, another company is collaborating with high-tech industrialists to create an app that will hopefully lead to a more efficient urban environment.
Street Bump is the brainchild of the city of Boston authorities and technology company Innocentive. Its aim is to streamline the process of finding, reporting, and filling-in potholes by utilizing the crowd of good Samaritan drivers with smartphones in the Boston area.
Currently only available for Android, the plans for the app are lofty, to say the least. Unlike similar apps that require the driver to type in their submissions, the app, while open on a driver’s smart phone, uses its GPS and accelerometer to transmit unusual bumps and dips on a car journey back to a central server where the locations are held for future investigation.
It certainly feels more futuristic than emailing your local highway agency with vague details of a pothole when you get home after your journey. Currently a prize of $25,000 is on offer to whoever can dream up the best improvement to the app, which is currently in alpha. The option to press a button on the app upon seeing a pothole is being trialled as a way to save users spines and suspension at the expense of a little locational accuracy.
One further possibility for the app is to have it be included in cars as a passive reporting app. Cars are getting smarter all the time and the ability to have both this and also their GPS app or music playlist will likely be a hit with drivers.
Even at this early stage the app is proving to be a hit: other city authorities are looking to team with Boston to create their own pothole maps and soon users in various locations will likely be able to effortlessly report driving hazards and speed up the process of having them fixed.