Making Our Local Governments Efficient and Effective

Guest post by Thomas Gaudett, Superstar SeeClickFix Intern

As a Government major at Harvard and citizen concerned about my community, it excites me when we as a society come up with new and innovative ways to solve problems that we face collectively. Having been acquainted with SeeClickFix over these last few months, I have discovered such a tool. The services that SeeClickFix offers to citizens and local officials can easily and rightfully be construed as revolutionary. And in this new age of technology and innovation, I have discovered two great ways that SeeClickFix is making the world a better place.

The first thing I discovered was that SeeClickFix assists citizens when reporting problems to local governments, especially issues that might otherwise not be reported. In particular, I have realized the benefits of working to fix pothole issues in local communities across the country. For example, the MTA of the San Francisco Bay Area publishes a pothole report every year. In this report, the MTA makes it clear that there is real cost savings in dealing with potholes up front when they are an issue rather than waiting until the street further deteriorates. The report says that preventive measures made by cities cost about $1 to repair a piece of roadway. It increases to $5 if they wait to perform major rehabilitation. Knowing about these non-emergency issues before they are major problems is a way to reduce costs to enact preventive rather than reactive measures. By encouraging citizens to report potholes and making governments aware of them, SeeClickFix is helping in this process of trimming local government budgets, which are very tight at the moment.

Upon further research, I have realized that SeeClickFix is indirectly helping to achieve a greener earth. Consider this: cities often set a goal of reducing their carbon footprints. According to a June 2009 Caltrans report Prioritization of Transportation Projects for Economic Stimulus with Respect to Greenhouse Gases, smooth pavement reduces GHG emissions by improving vehicles' fuel economy while low cost preventive measures lead to fewer greenhouse gas emissions. This is due to the need to produce less asphalt or other paving materials, and the need for fewer truck trips to transport materials to and from the worksite. By documenting and ultimately helping resolve street-related issues in a timely fashion, SeeClickFix is working with communities to create a greener earth.

Every day, the SeeClickFix community is realizing the benefits of the services it provides citizens and local governments. These are just two more to add to the list. This certainly encourages all of us to go out and report issues using the SeeClickFix mobile apps. Improving our communities never felt so good!