January 19, 2016
Mayor Turner Formally Debuts New Pothole Repair Initiative,
Website & Improved Customer Outreach
Next Day Pothole Repair Rate 94%
Mayor Sylvester Turner marked the formal start of his pothole repair initiative by grabbing a shovel to help City crews fill potholes near Spring Woods Middle and High Schools in Spring Branch today.
On Inauguration Day two weeks ago, Mayor Turner proclaimed that potholes reported to the City's 311 Help and Information line will be assessed and addressed by the next business day. Houstonians have responded by reporting a record number of potholes to the City's 311 Help and Information Line, going from a daily average of 22 reports before January 4, 2016, to 245 last Thursday. Despite the more than 1000% increase in service requests, City crews are maintaining an impressive next business day repair rate of more than 90 percent.
"Our public works employees are performing at an amazing level," said Mayor Turner. "When I visited with them last week at the Street Repair Division headquarters, they told me they were up for the challenge and were appreciative of Houstonians' positive comments and support of them. Given Houston's size of more than 640 square miles and the number of pothole reports coming in, there is likely not another city in the country that can claim this type of customer service. I am proud of the work we are doing."
Between January 4, 2016 and noon of January 18, 2016, a total of 902 potholes were repaired in response to citizen service requests received by 311. Ninety-four percent of these potholes were repaired by the next business day. During this same time period, the City proactively filled an additional 2,311 potholes. The number of service requests received by 311 that turned out not to be potholes, were duplicates, posed no safety hazard or were the responsibility of the Texas Department of Transportation or another agency totaled 547; there were 181 service requests still awaiting assessment.
"When I was campaigning for mayor, I heard over and over again from residents who were frustrated about the condition of our streets," said Mayor Turner. "This program is a first step toward regaining the public's trust on this issue. It is definitely only a short-term fix, but it is a step that we need to take to get us to the long-term solution. These are the very reasons why Houstonians voted for Rebuild Houston. It works and it's just what our city needs!"
The formal start of the program included the debut of a new website, www.houstonpotholes.org as well as a new automated customer notification process that will be managed by the Mayor's Citizens Assistance Office. The new website provides graphs and charts that provide real-time updates on the progress of the pothole program. There is also information to help residents understand the difference between a pothole and other street conditions.
The new customer service approach involves electronic outreach or a phone call to each individual who reports a pothole. The fastest way to report potholes and other street conditions is by using the 311 app available from iTunes or Google. 311 reports a dramatic increase in app downloads that corresponds to the increase in pothole reports. As of last week, app downloads were averaging 162 per day, compared to the previous rate of 21 per day. Right now, fifty-one percent of the pothole reports are coming via the app or through the web at www.houstontx.gov/311. Residents who still prefer using the phone may call 311 to submit a report.
The goal is to repair reported potholes by the next business day, unless it is too cold for the asphalt to adhere to the surface, the road is wet or materials and equipment are not available. Service requests that turn out not to be potholes will be placed on a priority report to the mayor that includes the proposed action and timeline.