Houston is Turning the Tide on Potholes 休斯敦正为填补马路坑洞而大刀阔斧
In the City of Houston, Texas, potholes have long been a major bane and a great source of frustration for drivers. That’s why Mayor Sylvester Turner made solving the issue a large part of his campaign in 2015. What’s more, once he was elected, Mayor Turner made good on his promise, and this large city – the nation’s fourth largest, with 16,000 lane miles of paved roadway – has managed to turn the tide on potholes, as it has made progress in less than two years.
For years, in spite of technical assistance such as an online pothole reporting system and 311 call center, the City of Houston had been in triage mode when it came to filling its potholes, trying to keep up with demand from the public. In fact, cities across the U.S. are under a tremendous amount of pressure to keep up with their 311 or other automated systems for pothole reporting by the public. But with tight budgets and outdated methods for repairing these potholes, street maintenance departments often fall into a vicious cycle of repairing a location – and then re-repairing it several weeks later. In fact, according to Strategic Highway Research Program1 (SHRP) reports, using poor materials and bad practices for repairs are the leading cause of road deterioration. The ideal solution, of course, is to quickly repair the pothole with quality materials and methods to avoid re-work and further road degeneration.
长久以来，虽然有坑洞在线举报系统和311呼叫中心，可是于满足大众需求的填坑补洞方面，休斯敦依然沿袭旧制，按损毁等级来处理。诚然，大众利用311或是其他自动化系统举报坑洞已让美国各城市面临巨大压力而疲于奔命，但是预算紧缩和修复方法老旧使得道路维修部门在坑洞修补陷入恶性循环，也就是往往在数周的时间内，一补再补。事实上，根据高速道路策略研究计划 (SHRP) 报告 注1，劣质材料和不当的修复工程是道路恶化的主因。理所当然，上乘的用料和施工，才是迅速修补坑洞，避免反复修补和遏止道路持续恶化的理想解决方案。
Mayor Turner promised in his inaugural address on January 4, 2016, that properly reported potholes to the City’s 311 line, smartphone app or online tracker would be assessed and addressed by the next business day.2 He also noted a goal to have them repaired in that time frame. The response was huge. Where December 2015 saw a total of 423 pothole reports entered as work requests into the city’s Infrastructure Management System (IMS), in January 2016, that number jumped more than 6 times – to 2,608 service requests. But city crews were able to keep up with the work; at the end of that month, Mayor Turner announced that the City had met his goal of a next-day repair 94 percent of the time. In addition, the number of requests has gone down overall in the past 18 months, and city residents seem to be satisfied with the current system Houston has in place.
特纳市长在2016年元月4日的就职演说中承诺，本日的第二个工作天就会对311呼叫举报电话的合理运作，智能手机应用程序或是在线追踪的情况作出评估和处理 注2。他同时要求只要备案，就得限期修复。结果反应热烈，该市基础设施管理系统 (IMS) 所列的维修案件从2015年12月的423件跃升到2016年元月的2608件，举报数量比较从前，超过六倍之多。施工队伍亦能迎头赶上，就在该月月底，特纳市长宣称，该市94%的坑洞案件已达到第二天就能维修的目标。此外，过去十八个月的举报数量此刻开始下降，市民对休斯顿目前所做的努力似乎感到满意。
So what did Houston do differently?
For one thing, the City redefined its definition of a pothole to encompass damaged pavement up to 25 sq. ft. Punchouts also joined the list as potholes. This allowed Houston’s fleet of pothole patching equipment (including 21 all-in-one Bergkamp FP5 Flameless Pothole Patchers) to focus on actual potholes.3
Additionally, the Street Maintenance division of the Public Works Department centralized all forces from four quadrants to one primary location. The city added an asphalt material contract with a second vendor, providing crews with additional pickup locations for more efficient travel time to repair locations. Modern technology allows for scheduling, routing and closing repairs. The City implemented new standard operating procedures as well as a QA/QC group to ensure the accuracy of all data recorded. And the division boosted employee morale by engaging employees and front-line supervisors in weekly meetings in regards to process improvement efforts.
Houston’s fleet of FP5 patchers provided a major contribution to Houston’s pothole initiative success. The FP5 has all the equipment needed to do the right patch with the right materials, which is a great benefit to cities that must respond to the volume of reported potholes. Employing an all-in-one patching method that removes all distressed asphalt and leaving only sound material, it provides a long-term, semi-permanent to permanent patch solution with a professional appearance, following four simple steps:
- Remove the damaged area and square it off using the pavement breaker.
- Blow out any remaining debris with the air and tack wand, which also applies the tack coating to help bind the new asphalt to the existing pavement.
- Pour the fresh, hot asphalt to the prepared area using the material chute.
- Use the compactor to pack the material evenly and match the existing pavement.
Potholes repaired with this method have an increased life over the traditional “throw and roll” method. Because the patching material is placed against straight, square edges and then compacted, it will not push out. In fact, this method is endorsed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The success Houston has found with its quick- and quality-oriented pothole program since January 2016 has been considered a public relations victory for Mayor Turner. The City’s Pothole Tracker website page (http://www.houstontx.gov/potholes) shows citizens that the City is listening – and responding – a move that has resulted in overall greater confidence in Houston’s 311 and online reporting process. Of course, the greatest cause for residents’ growing satisfaction has been what they have seen and felt as they travel the city’s roadways – with potholes filled in a manner that will make the repair last.
休斯敦自2006年元月以来所标榜的快速优质修补坑洞计划已获得成功，堪称特纳市长的一项公关胜利。该市的坑洞追踪网页 (http://www.houstontx.gov/potholes) 向市民显示市政府在倾听并有所回应。如此的作为导致大众对休斯敦311和在线举报程序的信心满满。当然，市民满意度持续增长的主因来自于巡礼市区街道的见闻和感受，因为坑洞填补的施工严谨，经久耐用。
1SHRP and other official reports on road deterioration and pothole materials are available here:
2Learn more about the City of Houston’s pothole program success:
3For repairs of more than 25 sq. ft., in-house crews performed partial and full depth skin patch repairs on asphaltic streets at a different time. Houston also added contractors to assist with their backlog of skin patch repairs.