Angry Potholes Tweet to Complain!

Angry Potholes Tweet to Complain!

By Somali K Chakrabarti

June is the month when monsoon begins in Mumbai. As the clouds overcast the sky, and welcome drops of rain provide the much needed respite from heat, we Mumbaikars prepare to brace the monsoon.

This is also the time of the year when we have to prepare ourselves to wade or drive through waterlogged roads, maneuvering with care to avoid the poodles and potholes.

Mumbai, being the city of extremities, on one hand boasts of plush buildings, towers and malls and on the other hand has roads that are filled up with potholes during the monsoons.

Mumbai potholes

Just like pimples erupt on the face of girls’ as soon they enter their teens, potholes of various shapes and sizes emerge on the surface of the roads right after the first few showers. Some grow as big as craters on the surface of the moon. If you aren’t careful enough, boy you’re in muddy waters!

But what if these potholes instead of just sitting and increasing in size with every passing shower, started complaining as soon as some vehicle passed over them?

Sounds gibberish?

Hold on!  This is exactly what has happened in Panama City, the capital of Panama in South America.

In an innovative initiative launched by Telemetro Reporta, an influential news show in Panama City, in collaboration with ad agency P4 Ogilvy & Mather, the potholes are fitted with RF transmitters and pressure sensors that trigger off tweets with 140 character rants when vehicles pass over them.

Tweeting potholes
Tweeting Potholes | Image credit : Shared by @PSFK on Twitter


Every time a vehicle passes the potholes they send a complain tweet to the Public Works Department, to draw their attention and request them to repair the potholes. Have a look here.

The tweets are sent to the Twitter Account @Elhuecotwitero,

This innovative initiative for creating public awareness about the condition of the roads has created a buzz in the social media and has also resulted in people demanding action from authorities responsible for repairing the potholes.

Unique isn’t it?

Do you think this will work in India? Pilferage comes first to my mind.

Don’t forget to share your opinion.



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  • Yes, the paradox in India. We all look forward to enjoy the showers and the beautiful nature in the rainy season but the moment we think of our road travel, it is nightmarish. Yes, Mumbai it is indeed hell, not that other cities are better. It becomes a news stories for our channel and it runs for few days and then it left in the back burner and public gets accustomed.

    That’s a very innovative idea and why not use technology bring better awareness and connect with the service providers and make them feel the pain public is undergoing every time they go by…we just cannot undermine the power of social media and it should be aggressively used to bring a difference in the attitude and mindset…

    have a lovely weekend.

    • Thanks for sharing your views Nihar. That’s the Mumbaikar’s dilemma. This is quite an innovative use of social media to draw attention towards road conditions, warn travelers to watch out for potholes and demand action. Maybe someone here gets the idea to develop a pothole watch app.
      Enjoy the weekend. 🙂

  • bhudeb chakrabarti

    June 5, 2015 at 7:58 am

    An innovative initiative worth consideration .

  • Wow, this is a cool idea. But do we have that many rf transmitters and sensors to install everywhere?! 😉

  • This is damn cool Somali. A very innovative approach. I wonder if it would be effective here but def worth a try. The only two doubts I have about implementing the same here:
    1) None of our officials are on FB or twitter. Let alone that most of them have a hard time turning on the computer.
    2) Would these bits remain in the potholes or will they be misplaced or stolen.
    Nevertheless it is a wonderful idea and can work very well here to with some minor tweaks. Thanks for sharing the thought, it is a really cool one ::)

  • Somali. This is nice info. This would draw the attention of panama city officials. But here u know the situation. Even if u spit of their face they won’t act on it. Hope they take some responsibility to close those potholes

  • Mumbai badly needs such arrangement. The tweet should be part of road traffic display system, and feed should be avilable in public buildings, and office of all chiefs.

    You will find no potholes soon!

  • Wow! That’s a cool idea..isn’t it?

  • All the politicians use twitter and hence they will be bugged. It’s a great idea. This is one way of getting things done 😉

  • Not only in Mumbai, the scenario is same in Kolkata. The potholes sprout up as soon as the monsoon arrives like weeds 🙁

    This is really a cool idea!

  • This is pretty out of box. I wish someone does the same in India.

  • Bombay puddles!!! One can write volumes on it! But ah… June… my fav month 😉 any guesses? :p

  • The pothole that tweets…how cool is that! Wish something such innovative happens in India too. Even in Kolkata, the streets are badly waterlogged and plenty of potholes can be found. But still I love monsoons and especially the month of June 🙂

  • Will never work in India. I don’t want to sound to sound pessimistic…but think about corruption in Public bodies in India. The sensors themselves will never be installed, will just become another money minting machine for whosoever concerned.

  • I wonder if it will work in India. Here people complain about the potholes and even send pictures and other details to the concerned authorities who wake up from their deep slumber only during elections 🙁

    • You have a point Alok. Chances of this sort of stuff not working here are pretty high. So maybe if they do something similar on a experimental basis in small pockets, the chances of it working may go up. One of the suggestions was to make the feed available on billboards in public places and buildings, which could actually be effective.

    • Unfortunately that’s true. However the idea of making the feed available on large public billboards like they do for advertisements may create some pressure.

  • Very practical initiative. Hope it is a success. In Bangalore the roads have craters.

  • We should implement something like this too. Great post. Thanks for sharing.. 🙂

  • Its such a nice idea 🙂 But the potholes seem to be small in the photos 😀 We have axle breaking ones here 🙁

  • Very innovative idea. In India it is possible that sensors may be stolen. But year on year we see potholes. Why can we not make better roads? In countries like Canada where it snows as much as it rains in Mumbai, yet we never see potholes. Moreover, they add salt on the road. Still quality of road is not affected.

    • ”Why can’t we make the roads better?” – The question remains unanswered since ages.Also our authorities do not seem interested to pick up cues from how things are done in other countries. Thanks for sharing your views Sir.

  • That was a great campaign in Panama city. Nice info . 🙂

  • I used to love the rains in Mumbai… but that was before I had to travel to work everyday and the potholes became a daily affair!

  • This is a cool idea- definitely worth trying in India.

  • Wow ..that is a real innovative step.
    Thankfully Delhi has no potholes bcoz of no rains

  • This is an intriguing info Somali. 😀 Thanks for writing about this and I believe this will work in India since things work here with consistent pestering. Sending tweets to government officials consistently will definitely drive them crazy. Our potholes are so many in number, that in a week’s time, there will be some or the other action.
    BUT, there is also the possibility of the transmitters being removed due to tweet nuisance 😛 Well, what do I say? Our government have their own ways.

  • A good way to use twitter.

  • Pranab chakraborti

    June 7, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Yes it’s an innovative idea. But difficult to implement. Authorities are fully aware of the situation. Not that they can’t make pothole free roads but use sub standard materials. Every year people complain about this and even court orders can’t give us relief.

  • thats such an innovative solution, why do I think that the municipal corporations will make the sensor go kaput the day they are installed? but yeh Mumbai needs a solution as such desperately, remember my bad times on western express highway where water from the potholes would splash on me sitting in an autorickshaw and it was a nightmare all of monsoon!

    • Hey you are not alone in thinking so Shweta. Almost everybody would have the same apprehension. Nonetheless it could be worth trying in a limited way (on say a stretch in the Western Express Highway ) to see if it works.
      Have a nice day. 🙂

  • Quite innovative alternate to send complaints and as per changing times …the web2.0 way. Pilferage….yeah can be a possibility.

  • Very innovative approach to solve the problem of potholes. I wish it becomes a reality in India too.

  • Hahah, that’s one innovative solution to really piss the authorities. I wish it was that simple to implement such ideas in our land where concerned authorities are so concerned about our grievances and are very much adaptable to new technologies! 😀

  • Haa yea this would be amazing. I don’t know why but I feel the Aam Admi Party can seriously consider this in Delhi 😛 😀 . But hey thanks for sharing this news somali !!

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