Lancashire

Blackpool pothole-fixing artificial intelligence 'saves £1m'

Satellite images showing the inspection of roads and a pothole (right) Image copyright Blackpool Council
Image caption Earlier detection of potholes means repair costs are much lower, Blackpool Council said

An innovative pilot scheme using artificial intelligence to assess potholes has saved more than £1m of taxpayers' cash, a council has said.

Blackpool Council said it was the first local authority to use AI technology to detect damage to roads.

It uses satellite images to inspect roads in seconds rather than sending engineers, and was trialled in Anchorsholme and Bispham.

The earlier detection of potholes means repair costs can be lowered.

The technology, piloted in summer and now rolled out permanently, detects the damage before using a traffic light colour-coding system to determine what action should be taken.

The council said 5,145 potholes had been fixed in North Shore at a cost of just under £450,000, which would have cost £1.5m using traditional methods.

'Significant savings'

The savings will be used to improve more roads, the authority added.

Councillor Fred Jackson, cabinet member responsible for highways, said the project would deliver "significant savings" and benefit all road users.

He added: "Blackpool Council is on a dynamic journey to deliver a better Blackpool and drive regeneration. More efficient road maintenance technology can play a key part of that ambition."

Steve Berry, head of local roads at the Department for Transport, said: "We hope Project Amber will act as a showcase of what can be achieved by local authorities working in partnership with the supply chain to achieve lower whole life costs in highway maintenance through the use of surface treatments."

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