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Smartphone app to report road damage rolled out across Tokyo

This smartphone screenshot shows the My City Report app with posts about road problems.

TOKYO -- A smartphone app to report road damage in the capital to the metropolitan government or other local governments now covers every corner of the Japanese capital.

    After people post photos of problems such as cracks in roads, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government or other local bodies will make efforts to fix them.

    The app was developed by researchers at the University of Tokyo. The metropolitan government joined the project in February 2020, testing the system in Katsushika and Shinagawa wards. They gradually expanded the area, adding Chiyoda Ward and nine other Tokyo wards and cities by April this year, covering metropolitan, ward and municipal roads in those areas. And now the service covers all metropolitan roads in the capital, including those on remote islands.

    The "My City Report" app is easy to use. By downloading it on a smartphone, users can post photos of problem spots with information including the location and comments. Metro, ward or municipal government employees check the problem on site, and arrange for repair work if necessary. Users can also check on the app whether the problem has been fixed. They can quickly report issues that may lead to accidents, such as sinkholes, clogged ditches, illegal dumping, fading lines on roads and distorted traffic mirrors.

    In the two-year test period, some 16,000 pieces of information were reported, and governments apparently fixed most of the problems in a few days.

    A metropolitan government official said: "We've had people post problems that governments didn't easily notice. By cooperating with residents in Tokyo, we'd like to improve road safety."

    Officials intend to expand cooperation in using the app with local bodies in the capital.

    (Japanese original by Asako Takeuchi, Tokyo City News Department)

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