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RED BANK: CAMS TO RECORD PAVING AND POTHOLES

A slide from the Vialytics presentation to the Borough Council Thursday. (Click to enlarge.)

By BRIAN DONOHUE

What roads in Red Bank need repaving the most? Where are the worst potholes? The swampiest storm drains? 

Borough officials who now reply on eyeball inspections and resident complaints for signs of “pavement distress” and other curbside calamities are hoping to soon have some real data to help decide what needs to be fixed first.

rb-pothole-022114-500x375-7940823 Roadwork on Washington Street in 2014. (File photo. Click to enlarge.)

The council voted last Thursday to hire Vialytics Americas to do “asset mapping” of the town’s streets, road signs, manholes catchbasins and other roadside infrastructure. The three-year contract will cost the borough $14,500.

The company, based in Germany with offices in Kinnelon, will provide smartphones loaded with Vialytics software to be mounted on the windshields of public works vehicles as they move around town. 

Video footage gathered will be uploaded to Vialytics servers, and AI technology will analyze road conditions and classify areas according to “15 categories of pavement distress.” Storm drains, street signs, and other features will be categorized as well.

“Instead of taking several months for an engineering firm to do this, we can do this in a matter of days,” Vialytics sales manager Tom Cummings said. 

The borough council voted unanimously to approve a three-year contract for the firm. Borough Manager Jim Gant said the data can help the town better manage the paving program to make sure the roads that need work the most get priority.

Deputy Mayor Kate Triggiano said those decisions have been tricky in the past.

“I never saw any data as to actually why those roads were being prioritized, whether they were on the east side, whether they were on the west side,” Triggiano said. “So to me that’s what excited me most… to have that confidence as a representative that we are putting things in the right order.”

Gant said it will be up to borough to use the tool and the information it gathers correctly and wisely.

“This is as good tool as we make it,” Gant said.

Several council members raised concerns over privacy and how the data will be stored. Cumming said license plates, faces and other data are blurred to protect residents’ privacy. As a company based in the European Union, he said Vialytics complies with the tougher internet privacy standards mandated overseas.

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