The tool repairs small defects on the road surface by also offering advertising space for companies by imprinting their logo on the pothole and sponsoring the repairing in order to provide benefits to the community while gaining economic and image value.
In the 2020 report by Marsh; accidents due to poor road maintenance are the first cause of costs in municipalities. According to GHSA data, in 2020, potholes are among the major causes of accidents, especially with micro mobility. The idea of Roadfix arose from these inconveniences with the aim to improve road safety; simplify the work of the operators; open new marketing frontiers. The inspiration comes from the Japanese art of Kintsugi, or repairing broken objects with gold to enhance the cracks and give them a new life. The concept is to enhance road defects to make them resources for the city.
Inside the container, water and cement powder are mixed through a whisk driven by the electric motor inside the rear wheel. Once the mixture is ready, the operator will rotate the box forward using the dedicated button on the handle, while opening the lid with the other button to release the mortar flow towards the defect. By pushing Roadfix forward the rear wheel will compact the mortar and imprint the texture on the ground. Through the customizable tread, companies will be able to place their logo on the rubber so that they can imprint a texture on the patch. Furthermore, taking advantage of the side covers, they will be able to insert graphics to have visibility even during the repair of the road surface. Today it is the Municipality that takes care of the road repair costs but through this new opportunity it will be possible to find companies willing to advertise by improving and helping our cities.
The initial project concept was born during the Concept Design Laboratory of the Politecnico di Milano in 2019 by a group of students formed by: Luca Grosso, Silvana Migliozzi, Alessio Puleo, Zöe Schnegg and Xueyan Niu. In the course of the laboratory, after an initial phase of research and development of ideas, the concept was developed with a study model and tested to understand the ergonomic, proportions and the user’s job. At first it was designed to be totally analog, in the latter version instead, it was integrated with a battery and a small electric motor to lighten the load for the user and also to significantly improve performance in the mixing and spreading phase of the mortar and also the shape of the container has been redesigned to make the product more functional and iconic. The operating buttons have been placed on the handlebar in order to have maximum control from a single place. The rear wheel, initially placed on the side, was repositioned in the center to have better stability and to give greater strength when leveling the concrete. The two side covers were then added to offer the company you want to advertise greater visibility even during repair operations.
The aim of the project is to solve the problem of road defects by creating a product service by allowing companies to advertise their brand through road repairs by imprinting their logo on the concrete. In this way, at their expense, they would contribute to helping the cities, especially now that the micro mobility trend is increasing. Small road defects are often repaired with methods that are not always conventional, for example using cold or hot bitumen using a shovel to fill and level. These methods allow for makeshift repairs that have a very limited duration over time and give an unpleasant aesthetic result. Roadfix allows you to make more precise and safer repairs also thanks to the use of bituminous mortar and not the classic tar. Furthermore, an ergonomic study has been carried out to offer operators a tool that can be more comfortable, easier to use and efficient.
The next step is to create a new prototype equipped with electrical components to start a new road test phase and have some operators try it out to understand issues related to ergonomics and the User Experience in more detail. In addition, have been identified companies that operate on analogue fields, for example: Companies that sell advertising space; micro mobility vehicle companies; companies that produce cements, glues and work tools; sportswear companies and more.