Hyderabad: Like most cities, Hyderabad is no stranger to bad roads. Potholes and bad traffic are perennial woes of commuters in the city. Now, in a step that might be able to pin-point as to why the two problems are chronic, a Pune-based start-up, in a pilot project with the state government, has mapped about 90km of the city’s IT (information technology) corridor to provide road safety solutions.

RoadBounce, which uses mobile-based road condition assessment technology, captures the condition of stretches when you drive a car on them and also provides a list of high priority patches to be fixed. The technology also maps heavy traffic areas on a real-time basis.

The project is part of Smart Streets Lab, a joint initiative by the government of Telangana in association with the World Resources Institute (WRI) India—Ross Centre and the Indian School of Business (ISB). The Lab leverages the new developments in technology and IT to ensure better and safer roads for all.

Ranjeet Deshmukh, founder and director of RoadBounce, said that he and his team use high-end smartphones to record reliable vibration data from vehicles on roads. “We have our algorithm to remove noise from the data collected. We basically pick up vehicle vibration (on potholes, gravel, etc.) and determine the quality of the road. If there is a pothole or a speed-breaker, we get higher levels of vibrations," he explained.

Deshmukh said data for the 90km has been collected and given to the open data unit of the state government for analysis, which will eventually be shared with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).

“This will also help senior officials identify the on-ground situation at bad patches. Sometimes a complaint is shown as solved online, but that may actually not be the case," he said.

RoadBounce rates each 100 metres road stretch as poor, average or good based on the road condition. It collects data and gives a detailed report with the stretches to be prioritized. “We give a prioritized list to the government to fix these patches first to get maximum impact on citizens’ lives," said Deshmukh.

“The data for the pilot was collected using vehicles which ran at a constant speed of 30-40km per hour and iteratively to assess road quality. Each road is then numbered and tagged with GPS (global positioning system) co-ordinates," said Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu, an open data expert who is working as a consultant with the Telangana government.

Dubbudu added that online complaints lodged over the last six months with the GHMC by citizens are also being checked along with the budget utilized to repair roads in the IT corridor as part of the project.

“The kind of work taken up today is not done in a scientific manner. This pilot will help them track problems on a real-time basis," he said.

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