Spring maintenance, pothole repairs underway

As part of its annual spring maintenance program, the City of Markham is continuing a pilot project that uses artificial intelligence (AI) software to detect and log potholes and has already completed its tree maintenance program.

The City expanded its pilot project with Visual Defence Inc. (VDI) last year, allowing repair crews to respond more quickly and efficiently. Markham earned several awards for its use of VDI’s Rover Technology, including the Ontario Good Roads Association John Niedra Better Practices Award.

Through the pilot project, a Rover app-enabled smartphone is attached to a patrol vehicle’s windshield. The AI finds potholes automatically using a smartphone’s camera and machine learning, and then uploads the information to the cloud system. City staff regularly review the recorded incidents through a browser and send crews to conduct repairs.

“Our roads continue to be among the best in Ontario and exceed provincial standards when it comes to our road rehabilitation programs. This is a testament to the hard work by our Operations team and I thank them for working diligently to keep our parks, trails and roads safe and well-maintained year after year,” says Mayor Frank Scarpitti.

Markham also earned the IDC Government Insights’ Smart Cities North America Award for the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, Public Transit, Ride-hailing and Ride-sharing category. The City proactively inspects, treats and repairs road and sidewalk surfaces every year using environmentally-friendly methods.

It repaired about 3,000 potholes last year. That’s a “significant decrease” from previous years and is due to its the proactive maintenance program, the City reports. Markham’s investments in transportation planning, infrastructure, education and programming have also earned the City a Silver Bicycle Friendly Communities Award from the Share the Road Cycling Coalition.

The City has completed the third year of its Neighbourhood Tree Maintenance Program. Crews worked throughout the winter to help reduce LDD Moth populations and continue to actively monitor activity throughout the City. Visit markham.ca/LDDM to learn how to protect the trees on your property from this invasive species.

You’re encouraged to help keep Markham beautiful by disposing of used facemasks, gloves and wipes in park garbage bins or take them home for curbside pick-up. Remember, household waste and pet waste belong in the correct container for curbside pick-up at your home. Use Markham’s “What Goes Where” tool on the Access Markham mobile app or on the City website if you need more information.

You can report potholes, damaged amenities or request street tree service online at markham.ca, by calling the Contact Centre at 905.477.5530 or by e-mail at customerservi[email protected].

Rover is an artificial intelligence app that runs on a smartphone mounted on a car windshield and detects deficiencies on a road automatically. Photo courtesy of Visual Defence Inc. 

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