LISTEN: Montreal gives pot holes GPS data you can track

Sometimes in Montreal it can seem like the city is more pothole than actual road.

Now if you're looking to avoid navigating the Swiss-cheese on your way to work the city has launched a new tool to help your plan your route.

Montreal now publishes GPS data that shows all the potholes its crews have repaired, becoming the first municipality in Canada to do so.

"Transparency is a key value of our Smart City program" Harout Chatilian, executive committee member in charge of Montreal's Smart City told The Natasha Hall show. "As we did with snow removal, now we're addressing the transparency issue with potholes."

"Citizens will get to see every single one of them that's being filled up almost in real time."

The data is provided by the trucks that do the work. Each one is fitted with a device that will record the time and location whenever it fills a hole.

So far, since the program started in December, the city has repaired 99,800 potholes.

"We're also saying that citizens 'look, that pot hole around the corner that you see every single day and you get the feeling that nobody is addressing that issue, we are'" Chatilian said.

The data will also be used to improve road work planning. If engineers see that one stretch of road needs multiple pot hole interventions in a short amount of time that area will be prioritized over other streets that are in better shape.

Chatilian said the information can also be used by University students and researchers who are constantly looking for ways to improve city planning.

The GPS data will also help officials keep tabs on contractors tasked with repairing the tire wrecking obstacles.

"Look what happened for example in the South West borough; they had this year with snow removal. Citizens saw it on the ground, they made complaints but also the data from the [Info Neige snow removal application] was a fact and the facts don't lie" Chatilian noted.

Following the shoddy job clearing streets and sidewalks in the South West borough, the city cancelled the contract with the controversial company in charge of doing the job.

Tracking repaired pot holes is just one part of Montreal's overall plan, announced in January, to help connect city officials and residents.

The 'Ville de Montréal mobile application' will allow Montrealers to report problems without having to dial the 3-1-1 information hotline. 

The app will let users upload a complaint about potholes, graffiti, park cleanliness, street cleanliness or even lighting issues.

Citizens will even be able to track the progress of their file online.

The app is part of a $28 million Smart City investment and will launch in late September 2017.