Department for Transport invests in pothole smartphone app

No bumps on the road for Fill that Hole

The British government has thrown its weight behind a smartphone app that lets users report potholes to their local councils.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has now pledged £30,000 ($50,000, $AU55,000) to enable CTC, the UK's national cycling charity, to develop an Android version of the app and revamp its website to make the system more consumer friendly for road users. The money comes as part of a £5.8 billion ($9.5 billion, $AU10.75 billion) additional spend on highways announced in the summer.

Fill that Hole has been available to iPhone users since 2010. It was originally developed for cyclists, who can receive serious injuries from accidents caused by potholes in the road.

The new Android app will boost the number of potential users to over 26 million according to the DfT. It is expected to be ready in February, at the start of 'pothole season' when the winter damage to roads is at its greatest.

Easy reporting

"The government is serious about tackling potholes. At best they are an irritation but at worst they can damage vehicles and pose a serious danger to cyclists. That is why we want people to tell councils where to find them so they can fill them in. This app means more people are going to be able to report potholes more easily," said Roads Minister Robert Goodwill.

Support for the app comes as more local authorities adopt new government guidelines which urge councils to plan extensive maintenance well in advance. This is rather than years of costly 'patching' as potholes appear.

In the past year around £23.8 million ($39 million, AU$44 million) was paid in compensation by local authorities across England due to the poor condition of their roads according to the Asphalt Industry Alliance.

CTC chief executive Gordon Seabright said that the partnership with the Department for Transport will enable the charity to provide its free service to many more cyclists and road users.