Citizens make great sensors. Reporting potholes, graffiti, street lights that are out. The reality is municipal workers make great sensors too. According to one call center I talked to recently, the average lifetime of a ticket is just under 14 days. That means if I report a pothole, on average it will be fixed in within the next two weeks.
But that made me think. The next time I was on the bus I noticed we hit a pothole every day in the same location. In fact, today that pothole is still there. For the last several months I have noticed graffiti, burnt out street lights - all going unfixed week after week.
So we have a couple issues here. Why are these bus drivers not reporting potholes? Why don't the police report all graffiti? It is a crime right? I suspect most officers wouldn't drive on past a car with a broken out window.
This isn't about ganging up on one group of municipal employees. This is about asking of them the same we ask of citizens. Sure, if every single burnt out street light was reported tomorrow then the 14 day average would probably change dramatically. But that is okay. Because then we have a better way to understand how to fix our community. To get it to some kind of standard.
I suspect a lot of employees do report these types of issues but the shear scale of the problems can sometimes cause one to lose focus on our ability to make a difference. If this is you, start anew today. Recognize your opportunity to make a difference. Report what you see and let those responsible figure out how to get them all fixed.
Baselines are critical to have when we are assessing our health and those of you that are keeping us safe, driving us to work, or inspecting our restaurants are just as vital to getting that baseline - if not more so.