Pothole reporting has gone high-tech at Tucson City Hall.
Residents now can use their GPS-enabled smart phones to point, click, and send photos and descriptions to the city Transportation Department.
The new system, in use for about a month, has generated about 83 requests for repairs. It's proving so popular that city work crews are devoting two days a week - Mondays and Fridays - to patching potholes reported in this manner.
Tuesdays through Thursdays are reserved for fixing potholes reported by conventional means.
"It's another useful tool, another way for people to contact us," said Kurt Hough, street and traffic maintenance administrator for the Tucson Department of Transportation.
With fewer staff members and tighter road-repair budgets, the setup allows city workers to better prioritize calls for service, so large potholes that pose safety hazards can be dealt with more quickly, he said.
The new system, used by a number of other municipalities around the country, employs a Web site - Seeclickfix.com - that can map a pothole's precise location through a smart phone's Global Positioning System coordinates. Photos taken by phone users are posted online, and the Web site also sends messages to City Hall, alerting staffers to the reports.
Because the Web site is public, anyone can log in to see when and where the trouble spots are being reported. Neighbors can even chime in with a "me, too" feature to voice their support for a requested fix.
The site also can be accessed from regular computers. And it can be used to report other problems, such as graffiti or traffic and streetlight problems, Hough said.
Photos aren't required when filing a report, but they're useful because work crews can see in advance what they'll be dealing with, Hough said.
Pima County isn't using the system, said Transportation Department Director Priscilla Cornelio, who wonders whether motorists pulling over in traffic to take pictures of potholes might create a safety hazard.
Still, Cornelio said, the county will keep an eye on how things go in Tucson.
"It's an interesting concept, and we'd like to talk to the city about their experience with it."