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We don’t need Washington to fix America’s infrastructure

We don’t need Washington to fix America’s infrastructure

We at Nexar have been watching closely the talk of a massive infrastructure reform package coming out of Washington DC. To say it doesn’t look like we’re getting that deal anytime soon would be…an understatement.

There’s no doubt that America’s roads, bridges, airports, telecom networks, and more are in desperate need of repair. And the numbers that are being thrown around — in the hundreds of billions and trillions of dollars — reflect the typical government response to this kind of a challenge.

But here’s the thing: city and state officials don’t need to wait for the federal government to pass a giant, bloated package. They could take real steps right now to improve their infrastructure and save money in the process.

While Washington is having the same age old discussion, with the same old ineffective recipe, technology has moved on. In the last decade new technologies such as predictive maintenance and computer vision have matured and now allow us to get (at a fraction of the cost) new data to target the most critical repair needs. The Nexar network of vehicles takes these technologies to scale, allowing municipalities and states to continuously track their infrastructure and monitor work being done to improve it and its impact.

When a driver pairs a Nexar-powered smart dash cam with the Nexar app, they join Nexar’s network. Every Nexar camera on that network is learning about the roads it is on — closed lanes, construction zone warnings, dangerous intersections — and sharing that data with others nearby. Traffic Management Centers can access these insights in real time to proactively manage the city as issues arise. Transportation officials that want to solve for the highest priority problems, be it damaged and missing road signs or potholes, could use these aggregated insights. See what we’re doing in Las Vegas, for example.

Even if some kind of spending package were to pass at some unforeseen date, it would need to deal not just with repairing the nation’s infrastructure, but with identifying whether repairs were done correctly, and where more repairs may be required. All of that can be monitored through the Nexar network. And anything that we share with our partners is anonymized and aggregated, so that it cannot be re-identified. No one has access to a driver’s personal data except for the driver. Here’s more on that.

It’s disappointing that Washington DC will likely be unproductive in the months and years to come. But there are scalable, affordable, market-driven solutions that can help bridge the gap.