Potholes in Panama City tweet to be fixed

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16th Jun 2015
Written by: Will Jones

Motion-sensitive devices pestering authorities with automated tweets

A news show in Panama City has harnessed the power of social media to ingenious effect by installing devices which alert government officials via Twitter to the city’s pothole problem.

Teaming up with ad agency P4 Ogilvy, Telemetro Reporta installed devices in some of the most notorious craters which when run over by a vehicle are triggered to send an automated complaint to the Twitter account of the Department of Public Works.

In a video address, the initiators said: “It would seem that in the rush to build a modern city, Panama forgot to take care of its existing streets, creating the contradiction of modern buildings and damaged streets.

“With this initiative we pointed out the hassle drivers suffer every day, directly to those responsible.”

And it’s working. Once the tweets started going viral within the city, the worst potholes were attended within 24 hours.

Shortly after, the Minister of Public Works, Ramon Arosemena, came forward to publically acknowledge the problem.  He said: “The gaps are the result of years of neglect and poor practice in construction.”

In addition to the Twitter campaign, the people behind the idea raised awareness by mapping out the most damaged streets in the city to help drivers avoid damage.

They said: “Not surprisingly, our potholes have started disappearing. The streets are being repaired. Our tweets started a solution which is being carried out.”

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