CityROVER Case Study
Drive. Detect. Determine.
The City of Windsor partnered with Visual Defence on using the CityROVER technology to increase the efficiency of road maintenance operations and to ensure an elevated level of resident satisfaction.
Since the application of CityROVER, the City has noticed several significant positive changes, including an estimated $374,000 in operational improvements, 50% reduction in patching program completion time and 89% less pothole claims being made.
The City continues to use CityROVER and expanded to using a total of three devices to assist in road inspections.
After updating the city’s road maintenance procedures in 2010 to involve GPS, the city of Windsor continued to search for different solutions to improve upon their road maintenance operations. That system relied on sending “scouting” staff to drive and patrol the city’s roads, logging and reporting any deficiencies that were noticed. However, the process was time consuming, as drivers were often required to drive for extended periods of time. In addition, they were required to multitask by splitting their attention between driving safely and looking for different types of deficiencies and issues, resulting in some issues being missed.
The city of Windsor has a population of over 233,000 and a road network consisting of over 2450 lane km. The city, being the southern most city in Canada, is linked to the United States through various routes, including the Ambassador Bridge. As such, more than 27% of all trade between Canada and the US flow through it. With growing traffic volumes and fluctuating weather conditions, the city experiences a vast number of potholes every year.
In order to uphold an elevated level of resident satisfaction and meet the Municipal Benchmarking Network (MBN) objectives for road users, the city searched for new solutions to improve its road maintenance operations. Initially in 2010, the city made a transition from a “drive-and-patch” method to one that utilized GPS tracking with manual push-button tagging. However, the city continued to look for innovative solutions that would create even more optimizations in road maintenance.
Previously, the city’s pothole repair process required staff to patrol the roads for prolonged periods of time, resulting in longer pothole repair times and some deficiencies being missed.
The GPS tracking system that was being used required manual staff operation and provided limited data on the reported deficiency.
With the high traffic volume, limited funding, and labour shortages, it was imperative to find a new and more efficient solution to reduce repair times and maintain ideal road conditions for the commuters.
Upon learning about CityROVER, the city of Windsor partnered with Visual Defence on a pilot project in March 2020.
A CityROVER device was mounted onto a municipal vehicle’s windshield using the provided mounting kit. Using CityROVER is quick and easy, as the user is only required to turn the device on and begin driving. The artificial intelligence application uses the smartphone camera to automatically detect and identify various potential road hazards such as potholes without requiring any additional input from the driver.
At the same time, CityROVER generates the incident data and uploads it to the cloud, which can be easily accessed by the city staff through the web interface so that they may accurately quantify the number of potholes there are in a certain area. As such, they are able to identify high priority areas and create repair plans to distribute among crew members so that they can ensure smooth roads for the commuters.
The city of Windsor has since expanded to a total of three CityROVER devices being used for road inspections.
The city has tripled their incident reporting capacity, with over 6800 incidents having been reported within 24 months and an estimated $625,000 in operational improvements.
DECLINE IN CASES
The city has noticed an 89% decline in pothole claims being made.
Phong Nguy, Manager of Contracts, Field Services and Maintenance, city of Windsor
“Working with Visual Defence is a fantastic relationship. Right from the start, they’re able to meet our needs, they’re very responsive, the technology is very easy to adapt. It’s extremely organized.
They’re a fantastic partnership for a municipality like ours.”
Tony Varacalli, Maintenance Supervisor, city of Windsor
“It saves us time from searching for them [potholes] when they’re already found for us.”
Ralph Prestia, Maintenance Supervisor, city of Windsor
“This Unit Takes a lot of stress off of them [scouting staff]. It’s like having another pair of eyes on the roadways at all times. Safety being one of our number one concerns. This unit has really helped us achieve that goal”