Technology and tackling the pothole menace

Britain’s road network is like a lunar landscape – pits and craters abound.

So huge is the problem that we now have a national event to shine the spotlight on it – Friday 14th of January is National Pothole Day.

The anti-celebration follows a recent set of predictably bleak statistics. These showed that one in every 16 miles of minor roads managed by councils in England have now been given the lowest “red” rating. Last year, the RAC reported pothole-related breakdowns have reached a three-year high and in 2019, defective road surfaces were a contributory factor to 671 injuries on UK roads. The ‘why?’ has been well documented: A vast repairs backlog, underfunding and the adoption by financially constrained councils of a ‘patch and mend’ approach have combined to bring our roads to their knees.

More important now is the ‘what’ – what we do to tackle this ever-growing problem?


The secret sauce: Data

Understanding in detail the condition of our roads and knowing exactly where the future trouble-spots lie – this is what will enable us to develop cost-effective strategies for fixing our network, preventing more problems and making it safe. To do this, we need data – accurate, fresh, high-quality and highly detailed data.

At Gaist, we have made it our mission to supply this.

Using our advanced digital and automated processes, we have built a ‘digital twin’ of the entire local road network. It provides the most comprehensive, up-to-date and high-resolution set of roads infrastructure imagery ever curated. Geo-referenced, it provides a detailed view of the surface texture of the road and its condition. It also identifies an extensive range of defects including wheel track cracking, tree-root damage and chipping loss as well as providing the location of all roadside infrastructure and features such as drainage and road marking.

Armed with this continuously updated resource and the detailed modelling and analysis we provide, the local authorities and other asset owner/operators we work with are able to plan, intervene and target their spending in a way that was never before possible. And through early intervention they can prevent potholes from forming,  prolong the life of our critical infrastructure, ensure better value-for-money and a safer and more comfortable driving / cycling experience for users.

Technology has opened up huge opportunities for how we tackle the menace of potholes – bringing benefits to local authorities and road-users and supporting flourishing and resilient communities.

In 2022, let’s seize them.


For further information on how Gaist supports asset owners with the provision of the richest insights possible into the condition of the road and roadscape, contact