Can Blockchain Fix Potholes?

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The technology is about far more than cryptocurrency. The founders of PotholeCoin see a future where motorists can join up to pay for their own pothole repairs. The advance of digital technologies has been promising to fix potholes and other infrastructure problems (e.g., graffiti) for the past decade. But the technologies like Boston’s StreetBump and SeeClickFix are primarily about identifying where the potholes are – and how much they annoy us. Left largely untouched is the difficult problem of actually funding the fixes. It’s one thing to say, “hey this…read more

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Domino’s Pizza Now Delivering Pothole Fixes

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The media – social and traditional – has been on fire this week about potholes. More to the point, the extensive coverage and conversation is about who is fixing potholes. The fixer, by way of funding, is Domino’s Pizza. The chain is refreshingly transparent about their marketing angle in doing this. Even the press release concludes with a paragraph about buying a large, three-topping pizza ($7.99) so “customers can celebrate smooth roads.” But perhaps of greater importance to motorists is the 15,000-store chain is neatly encapsulating in this campaign several…read more

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The Cost of Car Damages from Potholes

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The average motorist shells out $300 per year due to pothole damages. But not all potholes and their aftereffects are created equal. Those costs can be much higher. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), pothole damages to U.S. motorists total about $3 billion per year. On a per-pothole-incident basis, that works out to about $300 per driver. But depending on what part of your car was damaged those costs can vary quite a bit. Tires, wheels, suspension systems, exhaust systems, and car bodies are the most common casualties. So…read more

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Driverless Cars vs. Potholes

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When autonomous vehicles come upon a pothole they don’t react like a human. Emerging technologies could solve this problem, but there are ethical issues to iron out. Chess-playing computers have been able to beat humans at the game since at least 2005. But car-driving automation (some call them driverless or autonomous vehicles) is something else. Programmers haven’t fully figured out how to make the rule-bending decisions that humans make on a daily basis to avoid potholes. Consider how drivers sometimes break the law to avoid accidents. In a split second…read more

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Why Are Winter Pothole Repairs So Lousy?

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The difference between temporary and permanent pothole repairs illustrates how there are different kinds of asphalt. So why not fix potholes right the first time? We tend to think of road pavement, most of which is asphalt (some is concrete), as generic. In fact it’s not. And that’s why most municipalities dealing with winter potholes use a type of temporary pothole filler. Come spring and summer, road crews return with “permanent asphalt” to do permanent fixes. Which begs some obvious questions: Why fix something twice? Does that not double the…read more

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