The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in the public sector is growing. According to a recent IDC report, AI adoption is increasing worldwide, with this year’s top priorities being continued spend and implementation. The report found that AI is being used to enhance citizen experience, decrease employee workloads, and deliver better organizational outcomes. For some cities, like the City of Memphis, AI and ML are being taken one step further to not only better experience for citizens, but also bolster safety throughout the city.
The City of Memphis, at 340 square miles, is one of the largest cities, in terms of land mass, in the United States. With over 6,800 lane-miles of streets, city employees were struggling to maintain roads – and potholes were becoming a big problem. Last year, city employees repaired over 63,000 potholes, and only 20 percent were reported by residents. This equates to roughly 32,000 man-hours repairing potholes, and there were still many that didn’t get the attention needed.
To streamline the reporting and repair process, Memphis needed a tool that could easily leverage technology to fix these problems. Mike Rodriguez, CIO, City of Memphis and Memphis Mayor, Jim Strickland, found SpringML, a Google Cloud Partner, that had the AI and ML tools required. “Memphis is focused on easy living, and we want to do everything we can to keep our citizens happy. Working with Google and SpringML to reduce potholes and urban blight using machine learning and artificial intelligence was an easy decision,” said Rodriguez.
By using AI and ML to analyze video footage of roads and residential properties, potholes could be found, classified, and prioritized with the information that repair crews need, like width and depth. SpringML set up cameras and developed a user interface that collects pothole data and automates the classification and response process.
“Historically, Public Works has relied primarily upon Street Maintenance crews to proactively locate and fill potholes. As Memphis has over 6,800 lane-miles of public streets, it is a daunting task to reliably survey the entire system in an efficient and systematic way,” says Robert Knecht, Public Works Director for the City of Memphis. “The outcome of the data collected will be invaluable to Public Works so that it can ensure it is managing the city’s street system in a more proactive manner.”
With this technology, the City of Memphis can reduce the number of portholes on streets which creates a better, safer driving experience for citizens. With fewer incidents to report, residents will have an overall improved experience within the city. Memphis will save between $10,000 and $20,000 annually in city claims from vehicle damage due to potholes. This technology enables the city to detect issues with over 90 percent accuracy, reduce claim costs for vehicle damage, and improve the experience of both residents and visitors.
This is just one example of how AI and ML can be used to improve cities. From digital services to city maintenance, this technology holds a wealth of opportunities for the public sector. Learn how agencies can harness the power of the cloud in this webinar with Denise Winkler, Strategic Business Executive for Health and Human Services, Google Cloud and explore how cloud can improve social services and citizen outcomes.