Durham Region honoured for Whitby road project, pothole detection technology

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Published July 7, 2022 at 11:14 am

A road widening project in Whitby and an AI app that detects potholes were both honoured by Transportation Association of Canada as the Region of Durham’s Works Department was put under the provincial spotlight.

Durham received a Technology Achievement Award for their AI Road Maintenance Innovation project. Led by Works Department staff in partnership with Visual Defence Inc., this project allows the Region to identify potholes using an app called ROVER. Once the app is installed, a smartphone is then mounted on the windshields of maintenance vehicles to automatically detect, log, and photograph road deficiencies. The data is uploaded to the cloud where artificial intelligence confirms, measures and geolocates each deficiency. A resulting heat map allows staff to better understand overall road conditions and plan repairs.

Durham is the first regional municipality to implement ROVER AI for pothole detection in Canada.

The Region also earned an Environmental Achievement Award for its Victoria Street Road Widening project. This work involved widening the road through the vulnerable Lynde Shores Wetland and Conservation Area in collaboration with the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority. The project integrated new structures and wildlife crossing culverts, a wildlife lookout, a wildlife barrier, expansion of Eastern Pond Mussel habitat, creation of a new Shisko Wetland area, and a new multi-use path and storm sewers.

The project, which took three years to complete, also won a Project of the Year award during National Public Works Week in May.

“These awards are testaments to the great care that is taken by Regional staff to design and build roads that are safe for both users and the environment, and to incorporate innovative technology to enhance ongoing maintenance activities,” said Jenni Demanuele, Acting Commissioner of Works. “This project is one of the many examples that demonstrates the Region is implementing its Intelligent Communities Plan, and leading the way in the use of innovative technology.”

Heron at Lynde Shores

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