“Pothole ranger”, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Seattle Municipal Archives’ photostream

Mayor William Peduto thanks workers for their efforts

PITTSBURGH, PA – The city of Pittsburgh has cut its pothole response times nearly in half since launching its blitz in early April, and is getting nearer to its goal of addressing all such complaints in three days.

From the launch of the pothole blitz April 3 through last week the average pothole completion rate was 17 days, down from 29 days during the same period in 2013. In the first two weeks of this month, the average completion rate was down to 5 days.

That is despite a 350% increase in pothole complaints over the same period last year.

“City workers have battled through a brutal winter — as well as years of neglect to our road infrastructure — and risen to the challenge. There is more work to do, and we have not yet reached our three-day goal, but residents should be proud of what our workers have accomplished,” Mayor William Peduto said.

Response times have continually grown better through the 69-day study period from April 3 through June 11: while the average pothole complaint completion rate was 17 days, it was down to 13 days in May and 5 days in June. (A copy of a June 12 memo to Mayor Peduto on the pothole blitz is available here.)

The city’s 311 office also made reporting pothole complaints easier this year than ever before, including urging residents to lodge complaints through Twitter. Despite the 350% increase in pothole complaints, the dropped call rates for 311 remained under 5%.

The office — part of the city’s Department of Innovation & Performance — last week issued a Request for Proposals for a new Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system that will improve 311 performance and reporting. The current 311 system uses a cobbled-together system using three different software platforms, which also impacts tracking response times: the system cannot account for repeated requests for the same potholes, or for delays between the fixing of a hole and when the work order is reported as complete.

The date ranges in the June 12 memo include weekends and holidays when regular crews are not working, and include at least 13 days of poor weather when patching was not performed. Two Public Works divisions have been negatively impacted by having the dump trucks used for patching out of service.