There are few things more frustrating to road users than driving over successive potholes. More than just a nuisance, potholes can cause serious problems for drivers and their vehicles, including axle and suspension failure. For couriers, whose jobs depend upon delivering parcels efficiently and on time, these road defects can turn a successful delivery contract into a missed opportunity. |
However, new technology is starting to close the gap. Thanks to applications that improve communication between drivers and local councils, the process of remedying potholes has been greatly improved.
A pothole by definition is a hollow area in the surface of the road, typically caused by wear and tear or by the caving in or sinking of the ground beneath the pavement. Official guidelines define a pothole as a depression of 40 mm or more.
When water gets into the underlying surface structure (as often happens in the moisture-heavy UK), it can weaken the surrounding, supporting soil. When traffic passes over the now-weakened spot, the asphalt surface caves in, creating a pothole. Successive traffic, not to mention the freezing and thawing cycles, can make the holes worse.
The monetary costs of road defects can be steep. In the 2011-2012 period, the average cost of filling a pothole in England (excluding London) was £52. In that same year, England filled a staggering 1.9 million potholes.
The effects of potholes can be costly for couriers too. From breakdowns to traffic delays, road defects are a familiar problem for couriers, and can make delivering a contract significantly harder.
The effects of potholes can vary based on location and the nature of road traffic. Statistics show that they tend to be far worse in rural areas – bad news for couriers whose delivery contract takes them cross-country.
Fortunately, technology on the road is improving. The UK government website now offers users the opportunity to report road defects they may come across. The user simply enters the postcode where the pothole is located, to then be directed to the website of the responsible local council. Each council’s page has a form that users can complete to indicate the exact location and nature of the problem. If the hole is on a motorway or an A road, it falls under the jurisdiction of Highways England.
Developments in reporting technology helps to map problem areas and ensure that potholes get fixed as fast as possible. For drivers on the road reporting technology means smoother roads ahead.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. If you're looking for a delivery contract, Courier Exchange has over 4,000 transport exchange businesses networked together through their website, trading courier jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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