Have you ever cruised along a road, enjoying the ride, then got the shock of your life when your car jolts downwards with a bang? Congratulations, that’s probably a pothole you just ran over, and congratulations again, because it seems that finally something will be done to fix it faster than ever.
Just to be clear, potholes refer to a “pot-shaped hole in a road surface”, or a depression in the land that is liable to be water-logged when it rains. When it happens on roads, unlucky motorists may happen upon them unawares, potentially leading to some nasty surprises, such as a loud bang, scratched or dented undersides of cars, burst tyres, damaged tyre rims, camber misalignment, or in the case of motorcyclists, potential falls and accidents.
The Pothole Situation in Malaysia
As we are a hot and humid country with plenty of moisture around and in the ground, the dangers of subsidence is a very real one. This refers to a partial (partial/uneven subsidence) or full (uniform subsidence) sinking of the ground. The partial subsidence causes sinkholes, as tiny parts under roads get eroded by underground water and cause the surface bitumen to crack and sink.
Waze to the Rescue!
Almost everyone uses Waze, Google Maps, or some other social navigation mobile app to navigate unknown places around the world. It’s nearly ubiquitous now, even in Malaysia. That’s why it’s a blessing to find that Waze will be collaborating with the Selangor State Government, which is a state, along with Kuala Lumpur, riddled with both potholes and heavy traffic.
How Does It Work?
Currently, Waze already has a system in place to allow a Waze user to warn others of potential hazards such as accidents and bad weather. It goes without saying that potholes are dangerous, especially at night or after rains when they can’t be seen, so it’s a good thing that Waze has decided to work with Selangor to actively curb the problem beyond mere warning.
To become part of the pothole-reporting community on Waze, simply use Waze as usual, and tap on the Reports icon. Choose to report a Hazard, choose On Road to specify the type of hazard, then choose Pothole when you notice potholes on the road.
Photographs might be helpful too, though Waze doesn’t seem to strictly require it. At the very least, it can serve as photographic evidence.
How Fast Will Selangor Respond?
Traditionally, the responses of local authorities when it comes to patching manholes is rather bureaucratic, cumbersome, and slow, but that might be about to change. Under this collaboration, the Selangor State Government is supposed to patch up a reported pothole within 5 days from the time it is reported. That’s already much faster than the amount of time it usually takes for action to be taken by the public sector.
Like many other sectors, labour shortage is a very real problem even for the Selangor State Government.
Participating Local Authorities
That aside, this Waze-local authorities collaboration is currently limited to all 12 Selangor State Local Authorities, namely MBPJ, MBSA, MDHS, MDKL, MDKS, MDSB, MPAJ, MPKJ, MPK, MPS, MPSepang, and MPSJ.
Road Management Authorities
However, some roads fall under the jurisdiction of either the Public Works Authority (JKR), the State District Office (PTD), the Malaysian Highway Authority and Concessionaires (LLM) or private developers. These roads unfortunately are not maintained by the Selangor State Government and therefore do not fall under this collaboration. However, a pothole hazard report is still a useful feature to avoid accidents, so it’s nice to have regardless.
According to the Smart Selangor Delivery Unit deputy program director, they received 19,000 pothole reports in 2017, and almost all of those that have occurred on roads maintained by the local authorities have been patched. That’s good news!