UNDP - Live Lebanon in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation, the National Council for Road Safety and MTV (media partner), introduced a new pothole patching technology called "Velocity" and launched a campaign called "Ensa Joura". whereby citizens can pinpoint potholes using a mobile application. The state of the art truck will go to the reported locations and instantly fix the potholes.
Out of the many problems Lebanon is facing, road safety is a major one. The roads bad infrastructure especially the existence of many dangerous potholes is causing a lot of accidents resulting in losses in lives and money. According to WHO, the yearly death toll is around 1,088 due to car accidents in Lebanon. The Lebanese Red Cross estimates over 10,000 accidents per year and over 14,000 injuries other than the fatalities. According to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, traffic accidents in Lebanon are estimated to cost the national economy about 1.5 per cent of its GDP. Potholes are a major cause for those accidents.
The government traditional way of fixing potholes required two to seven working days using a cutting machine, which caused more damage to the asphalt, a truck full of hot asphalt, a bulldozer and many workers. It left waste on the sideways and caused a lot of traffic. The work is usually guaranteed for 3 months only.
UNDP Live Lebanon launched Ensa Joura campaign with its media partner MTV (Ensa meaning forget - Joura meaning pothole) in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Works and the National Council for Road Safety in Lebanon by introducing a new technology to fix potholes: Velocity Machine.
The new eco-friendly state of the art technology is fast, efficient and durable. The potholes are closed in less then 2 minutes. It does not cause traffic, produces zero-waste and does not require cutting the asphalt, which causes impairment around it. The results are guaranteed for 10 years.
The campaign engaged the civil society where citizens could pinpoint potholes and send us coordinates using a mobile application with one click.
Within days of its launching, people started reporting potholes on their way home, to work, or any other destination. We received over 17,000 unique requests from different citizens in less then a week. The data was gathered and published on a map on livelebanon.org. The branded truck roamed the streets fixing potholes prioritizing the heavily reported areas. A weekly news report, which was aired on Friday prime time, morning, afternoon and midnight news showcased the work with before and after pictures.
Ensa Joura hashtag trended on social media and the campaign went viral and lasted 8 months. In total 86 news reports were aired.
Bloggers, Journalists and citizens praised it. Pictures of truck were all over social media and people awaited anxiously the arrival of the truck to their city.
Originally the campaign was funded by 5 Lebanese expats for the amount of 300,000 USD and it was supposed to last for three months. Due to its success, around 30 municipalities and union of municipalities joined the campaign and provided additional funds through a 70/30 % cost sharing agreement with Live Lebanon.
In total, 6,000 potholes were repaired in 92 different areas around Lebanon enhancing road safety and decreasing the number of accidents. This technology is now adopted by a lot of municipalities, union of the municipalities and the Ministry of Public Works.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
1- The Velocity Truck is new and innovative technology used for the first time in Lebanon, whereby the government and municipalities adopted it after the project was completed. It was a solution to a long lasting problem.
2- Engagement of civil society by pinning the location of the potholes that need repair on the application, with pre and post pictures of the same pothole. An online map showed the reported potholes and b4/after pics were published.
3- The response to the public was rapid and efficient, reaching more than 92 areas in Lebanon
4- The technology used is eco-friendly, fast, efficient and durable. The pothole takes up to a maximum of 2 minutes to be closed, there is no waste produced and it doesn't cause traffic unlike the traditional way used.
What is the current status of your innovation?
As of June 2017, the project has already been implemented. Now, we are at a stage of using what we learned from this project and trying to incorporate innovative ideas in all the projects under implementation. There is always something we can do better, work on more and improve.
After this technology was adopted by the government and municipalities, we are now looking into different innovative solutions for challenging problems facing Lebanon.
Collaborations & Partnerships
UNDP Live Lebanon in partnership with MTV (media channel) launched "Ensa Joura" Project in Collaboration with the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation and The National Council for Road Safety(NCRS) in Lebanon.
MTV: A full media campaign was done. More than 86 news reports, videos for the campaign and the application was used for the project
Ministry of Public Works and Transportation and NCRS: Facilitate our access to road and managing traffic during process
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
Citizens using the application were engaged in the project by pinpointing potholes that needed fixing. All Lebanese citizens were effected by this project since potholes is a major problem facing our roads.
The government is now using the technology that was introduced.
Municipalities also started adopting the new technology being efficient, easy and reliable
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
Ensa Joura project was a breakthrough introducing a new technology that was used for the first time in Lebanon. The government now uses this technology which is considered easier and more efficient than the traditional way it used to work.
Citizens are more involved in the solution that was implemented for a problem that all Lebanese people face on the roads every day.
Our initiative is now more interested in finding more innovative ways to solve problems facing Lebanon.
The project won the WARC award for MENA strategy which is a world media award for the media coverage of "Ensa Joura", the application, citizen engagement and the videos and news reports that were created throughout the campaign.
Although we don't have accurate data but the campaign helped reduce the number of accidents.
Challenges and Failures
The challenges that we faced in this project were with the locations of some of the works to be done. Sometimes, the potholes that are pinned are on main roads or very congested areas. To avoid traffic in congested areas and to ensure safety of workers and drivers, we had police escorting the team.
Conditions for Success
Support from the government, citizens and contributors were all success factors to the project.
As mentioned before, this technology has been adopted by the government and the municipalities.
This project helped us realize that Innovative solutions for problems facing a developing country like Lebanon are very important and relatively easy when the right entities work together.
Citizens, NGOs, public entities, local authorities and private sector are more interested in being involved in innovative projects since its impact is visible and reaches out to the biggest number of people and lives.
Always engage citizens in these types of projects, giving them the chance to feel they are part of the change.
Velocity is now being used in many countries in the region.