Updated Feb 20, 2016
Road conditions are a huge factor in every motorcyclist’s choice for one route to point “z” versus another. Be it expressway, highway, alternate, county or twisties, if the road’s been neglected, we’ll likely deviate. However, what about when surface problems aren’t yet known? If past road trips have taught us anything, it’s that one ill-considered turn onto damaged tarmac can be far worse after fifteen minutes than five hours of travel along it’s better maintained equivalent.
Today’s most viable solution is an easy to use mobile app called City Sourced. They’ve basically given smartphone users the kind of hazard reporting that many government employees likely fear. In short, we’ve been handed a piece of software that legally documents and informs local public officials of road hazards and defaced property. What’s more, it actually works!
Opening the app leads to a menu-collapsed screen with a single button offering to “Create a Request”. The process isn’t without difficulty as the collected information must be directed to an appropriate recipient. It would also seem that clarity of information dictates response time.
I first tested this application when I was living in Chicago. Graffiti had been painted onto a nearby building and after weeks of it staring back at everyone, we wanted it gone. I loaded City Sourced, took a photo, described the problem and sent it to whichever menu option made the most sense. Because it included gang signs, “Graffiti Busters” showed up the very next morning. Impressive.
As travelers, it's our duty to put local government to use. Potholes, damaged street signs and malfunctioning traffic lights aren't going to fix themselves.
Let’s step a little more towards our beloved motorbikes, shall we? Chicago winters may be harsh but the city’s “Enola Gay” approach to salt dispersal has cornered the market for exponential pavement damage. At spring’s start one year, a pothole had expanded so deep and wide that a mentally imbalanced, albeit humorous neighbor planted a tree in it.
The tree took root, folks.
If you take a photo of a tree that’s managed to gain physical mass under a section of city street and submit it to City Sourced, I bet blackjack they’ll show up in under thirty minutes. Decorate it for Christmas and you might cut that time by half.
The point to my punchline is that all reports are processed. Should you find yourself scouting the twisties for prospective rally routes, installing an app such as City Sourced helps-you-help-public-servants-help-you. If Uncle Sam doesn’t know, he’s far less likely to remedy the situation.
Voice your concerns by making hazardous situations known!
What Android Travel Applications Do You Use?
Smartphones have changed the way the world is turning. How has your riding and/or wrenching benefited? Your input is invited. Post an article!