The idea is brilliant—a smart phone app detects potholes while you drive, then sends the location of the pothole directly to the officials in charge of fixing it.
That's the theory.
But on a Jamaica Plain test drive of "Street Bump," the app seemed to pick up a lot of false positives. Manhole covers often triggered it. A big, deep rectangular street patch in Egleston didn't register at all.
Once all the bugs are worked out, though, the app stands to be an invaluable tool for letting city workers know quickly exactly where potholes are. The system also measures the intensity of the jolt, giving a clue which potholes are biggest.
An algorithm is supposed to weed out false positives like manhole covers, according to a Boston Globe article about the effort. When a location is picked up by three separate users, it gets flagged as a pothole.
The app is a project of Mayor Thomas Menino's office of New Urban Mechanics. The city and Liberty Mutual Group Inc. forked over $45,000 for the prototype.
Residents can also report potholes using the city's CitizensConnect app, though it lacks the capability to auto-detect.
For more details on how the "Street Bump" app has evolved and how it works, read the full story on the Boston Globe.