Erie County testing new technology for reporting road issues

Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County wants to make it easier to report potholes and other road issues throughout the county. They’re testing out new software this week.

From potholes to snow plows, Erie County officials know it can be difficult to report road issues. That’s why it’s testing the Global Information System or GIS technology.

“We can add so much data in there that the last time a bridge was inspected. They get done by New York State, they inspect most of our bridges that are greater than 20 feet. So we can put those inspection reports in there, we can have a life cycle history — that’s basically all one click away,” said Bill Geary, Erie County Public Works Commissioner.

Right now, drivers can submit complaints through the County website. But according to Bill Geary, soon people will be able to upload a picture of a road issue to the site or even through Twitter.

“Using that picture and the geo data that’s attached to a picture now from like a smartphone, we can pinpoint exactly where that is, react to it and address the complaint in a very fast, efficient time,” said Geary.

“If we have a continual issue and can track that and it’s in the same location we obviously will be able to pinpoint and correct those issues before they become major issues,” said Geary.

Geary says through this software, there will be a timeline for people to see when a road was last plowed. He says this can also be a planning tool to alert drivers and even first responders when roads are closed.

This isn’t a stand alone app, but Geary says something like this isn’t out of the question.

“The process of how we’re going through this right now is using all the tools that we have. We have also contact with an outside agency on developing apps just for this,” said Geary.

The testing this week is just internal testing, so it’s not public just yet. Geary says the goal is to roll out this technology by the end of the year.

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