Yearly Archives

2016

The Trump Infrastructure Plan and Potholes

By potholes

Hazardous streets and highways got plenty of attention in the 2016 election. Will the president-elect favor fixes – or exclusively build new roads? In the 2016 election both major party candidates shared at least one idea. They promised, to varying degrees and by different methods, to fix America’s crumbling infrastructure. Potholes – pavement crevices, not just the metaphors – were mentioned by both Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton. Since his…

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Public Works vs. Infrastructure

By potholes, Uncategorized

What’s in a word? Does calling our pavement “infrastructure” instead of “public works” in anyway help fix our potholes? Or is it the other way around? In his recent book, “The Road Taken: The History and Future of America’s Infrastructure,” Duke University engineering professor Henry Petroski discusses (among many things) common misconceptions about the sources of funds for road construction and maintenance. Where it comes to our nation’s roads, bridges and other…

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Adios Pavement, Hello Gravel?

By Uncategorized

More than just a few municipalities are throwing in the towel on bad pavement. Replacing their potholes are gravel and dirt roads – which have their own issues. Two noteworthy American cities about 1400 miles apart are chewing up rutted, potholed pavement and replacing them with dirt and gravel. The reason this is happening boils down to money – or a lack thereof. But others argue it’s just a matter…

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Tollway Successes Hard to Ignore

By potholes, Uncategorized

Are toll roads the future of good pavement? The lessons from Colorado’s E-470 might provide us a clue on how to provide pothole-free roadways. The first highway in the U.S. to use open road tolling – where drivers could skip human-staffed barriers and coin baskets, paying instead electronically – celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016. It’s Colorado’s E-470 which links the eastern suburbs of Denver and which has successfully maintained its…

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So Many Potholes, So Much Cost

By Pothole Videos, potholes

Potholes are more than a bump in the road, a punch line or a politician’s promises (to fix them). They cost money and lives. Pothole.info just produced a video, posted on YouTube, to illustrate these points. We’ve been reporting on how this damage is caused, what the effects in dollars and injuries are, and how smart pavement management can prevent these problems from ever happening. In video form the public…

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Pothole Dummy Laughs Off 1,100 Hard Hits in Chicago

By Uncategorized

Most drivers avoid potholes wherever and however much possible. But others face the problem head-on. For a living. And for laughs. In April – a prime time for potholes in the wake of late winter/early spring freeze-thaw cycles – a character known as the Pothole Dummy plied the streets of Chicago to see how many potholes he could run over in a five-day stretch. He was successful: 1,110 hits were…

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Can Data Science Fix Potholes?

By Uncategorized

Is it possible? Might data science and data analytics help improve our potholed roads? Applied data science is all around us. It’s how Google Maps can recommend routes to take with some ability to predict traffic (because other Google Maps users have tested those routes before you, and GPS tracking records and analyzes the speed of those previous drivers at different times of day and in various road conditions). It’s…

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How Humans Respond Emotionally to Potholes

By Uncategorized

Some people get angry and bitter over the damage that poor pavement causes. But to protect from vehicular damage and accidents, some people take action. The experience of driving in modern life is very different from the advertising of the 1950s, when singer Dinah Shore sang, “See the USA in your Chevrolet.” The camera showed us an open, smooth highway, where nary a care should cross the minds of drivers…

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No Spare Tires and Lots of Potholes

By Uncategorized

Tire inflator kits are rapidly replacing the tire in the trunk. They offer some advantages but provide some of their own bumps in the road. It’s never a fun surprise when your car hits a pothole and you get a flat tire. In fact, “surprise” is quite likely not the first word to come out of your mouth. Even worse, there might be a second discovery for you when you…

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Poor Pavement Hits Lower-Income Americans Hard

By Uncategorized

Damages to cars from potholes can cost more than most households have on hand for emergencies. The cost of slow traffic and accidents may be even greater. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), motorists are shelling out $6.4 billion per year in car repairs due to potholes. That’s just to take care of flat tires, bent rims, poor alignments, damaged shocks and struts, cracked catalytic converters – and the…

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A Road Built to Be Bad

By Uncategorized

Ford intentionally built a very nasty stretch of pavement to test vehicles under pothole conditions. It’s a success – but is that a good thing? This just in from the Department of Irony: Ford Motor Company built a road that is intentionally potholed. What’s more, it’s 50 miles in length and actually is designed to replicate how cars meet carnage from bad pavement in 25 different countries. The purposefully bad…

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NASA or Potholes?

By potholes

It isn’t necessary to choose between space exploration and fixing the roads, bridges and tunnels. For now, the bumps in the road cost drivers the most. Donald Trump, the 2016 presidential campaign hopeful, has drawn a line in the asphalt on where he thinks America should be investing: That would be fixing potholes in the streets, not sending rockets into space. The real estate mogul made these comments in 2015 to…

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El Niño Winter of 2016 Creating Potholes Everywhere

By potholes

The phenomenon is altering weather patterns across the U.S. – placing new burdens on highway maintenance crews and budgets in dozens of states. Much as meteorologists predicted, the el niño winter of 2015-2016 is turning into a monster. The immediate effects of heavy rain and flip-flopped temperatures – it was warmer in Boston (69 degrees F) and New York City (72 degrees F) on Christmas Day 2015 than in many…

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