City of Houston

Rice University Confirms Houston’s Pothole Repair Rate

How reliable are the city of Houston’s claims about its one-day pothole repair efforts? The city says, “Don’t take our word for it,” and asked researchers with Rice University for an analysis.


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Mayor Sylvester Turner's pothole initiative started shortly after he was inaugurated on Jan. 4.

Since then, the city says it has filled more than 2,000 potholes reported by residents. Of those, it has fixed 96 percent by the next business day, according to its website.

But how do we know that's true?

To answer that question, the city asked Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research to independently analyze the numbers.

Kyle Shelton and Kelsey Walker went through data of 311 reports, service requests and work orders for potholes between Jan. 4 and Jan. 21.

"The numbers as presented, the 93 to 96 percent average, we confirm that," Shelton said.

He said the city could be clearer about what that percentage means, which is not of all potholes reported but of those that have eventually been filled, "by potentially displaying other information such as here are the other categories that things could be classified as and here are some of the numbers about the on-time assessment, either within the same time period or just the numbers that are either pending repair or open within the 30-day window."

Turner said he now wants to focus on more complicated road issues, such as where whole sections of a street need to be repaved.

The goal here is to fix problems within 30 days after they are reported.

Here is a report of the Kinder Institute’s findings.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is the News 88.7 business reporter and also covers criminal justice, guns and shootings.Florian's stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of...

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