Potholes are a universal problem but when it comes to Indian cities, potholes have a very useful purpose other than causing frequent accidents and slowing down traffic, and that is to serve as important landmarks in the city. Come monsoon and driving down your city’s roads is almost equivalent to taking a risky adventure ride.
Mumbai might be the financial capital of the country but isn’t spared from pothole-ridden roads. We could post pictures about them on Facebook or outrage on Twitter, but that wouldn’t budge the civic authorities into filling them. But here’s a project that could – the Fill in the Potholes project.
What began as a satire on the sorry state of roads in the city, is now striving to drive attention of the citizens and authorities alike towards this grave problem. In an unusual way of filling them with stories, where potholes are the protagonists.
A website is keeping track of the project and the pothole stories along with dedicated pages on Facebook and Twitter. Citizens are being encouraged to share their pothole experiences in Mumbai along with pictures. In the following visuals shared on Twitter, every pothole has a unique story:
— Fill in the Potholes (@fillpotholes) September 25, 2014
— Fill in the Potholes (@fillpotholes) September 8, 2014
— Fill in the Potholes (@fillpotholes) August 26, 2014
The project is now working towards empowering every Mumbaikar to report and track the potholes spread across the city with the help of a mobile app – the Pothole Watch. Currently under development, Pothole Watch will help citizens to report the GPS location of a pothole in a user-friendly way. This data will help authorities to speed up the process of filling up potholes.
The brainchild of a group of strategists, designers, writers, planners, engineers and developers, the Fill in the Potholes project is now crowdfunding on Wishberry to build the app. Apart from raising funds, crowdfunding will also help to gauge validation of the people and spark conversations.
The project is also looking to establish a citizen-government tie-up. It is already in talks with a few strategic partners/NGOs to join hands and is also looking for media partners and brands for association to take this cause forward. While the usual flow is from a brand brief to an idea and project execution, Fill in the Potholes has the idea, all it needs now is a brand to back it.
The first brand which comes forward and invests Rs 1 lakh in the project, gets the “Powered by” branding on the splash screen of the app for a year!
If the crowdfunding campaign raises the required amounts, Pothole Watch will be ready for launch as early as April 2015. If the project fails to reach the target amount in due time, all monies collected so far will be returned to the respective contributors. The target amount is Rs. 1.2 lakhs and target date is December 12, 2014.
Filling potholes one story at a time
The storytelling laced with satire is what stands out to make the project appealing and share-worthy. Superheroes getting caught in potholes is a good way to trigger social media conversations and catch the attention of the social savvy. Crowdfunding for the app, apart from triggering conversations and helping to raise funds through social media, is also bringing together a diverse range of people for whom the roads of Mumbai matter.
What’s good is that the project has been designed as a win-win for all parties involved – Mumbaikars, the brands that support and the city of Mumbai itself. If successful, the Pothole Watch app will be carried to other cities and worldwide as an open source tool for monitoring potholes.
Hoping the project collects the target amount and inviting brands to come forward and support the ‘Fill in the Potholes’ project.