How do I find potholes in roads in Los Angeles, California?

I am a beginner and hope that I can find some information about roads in Los Angeles California. I am trying to determine the impact of bad roads on automobiles. I am looking for any kind of information such as potholes, roughness etc. I was hoping that this information could be added to maps in OpenStreetMap.
Many thanks.


There are tags for (at least):


& here is a search for smoothness=bad in LA: overpass turbo.

Simply repeat it for the other levels of “unsmoothness” :grinning:

Edit to set search to run.


Hi, and welcome to OpenStreetMap! I agree with the other posters above that the information you seek is contained in the smoothness tag. As a Los Angeles local, I can say that very few urban streets in the area currently have any smoothness details tagged on them at all. Fizzie41’s overpass turbo queries above indicate that most ways with smoothness=intermediate or worse in the area are actually either footpaths or fire roads in the mountains, not the poorly paved streets I think you have in mind.

Of course, you’re welcome to add smoothness values to roads you know about/observe, so in that sense OpenStreetMap is an appropriate place to catalog how potholed a road is, if that’s what you’re interested in!


So you guys have somebody who updates those values when the roads are patched up? Seems like a full time job there.

it is either a full time job or work for an army of ants who occassionally push a button while moving around. Choose which

Ha, I think our roads get repaved less often than you seem to imply :wink:. More seriously, while the smoothness of a road necessarily changes over time, I’d argue it’s no less a real and permanent feature of the on-the-ground reality than, say, shop POIs, which can also change values on short timescales. Maybe if a neighborhood’s road smoothness is well-mapped, someone could use the data to lobby the city government to do a paving campaign, causing the change themselves!

Maintaining every feature in our map takes a lot of time, and I think we’re better served as a community by encouraging new mappers to map what they’re interested in, rather than disparaging the potential effort before it’s begun (which is how I read some of these comments, even if that implication was unintentional).


I’m not reading any “disparaging of effort”. OSM mapper are an army on ants :wink:

And it is not just “potential effort” either, mapping of smoothness=* is rising quite rapidly. I myself as a cyclist care a lot about that piece of information (along with cycleway=* and related information of course), and map it all the time (mostly with simple click in StreetComplete app), and would welcome everybody to join in in the effort. Even if you tag just a few streets in your neighborhood, there are a lot of OSM mappers, and this effort adds up very quickly.


Repaved? infrequently yes. But the main title refers to potholes which hopefully get patched often without the need to draw dick pics around them.

OSM is built on a massive community of mappers who care about making a free map of the world. :slightly_smiling_face: You can help!


Yes, but I do believe that there are other sources of data that can be superimposed on the map.

When I put the query “Is there any way to find pothole information for LA?” into ChatGPT, I got the following:

Yes, there are several ways to find pothole information for Los Angeles (LA):

"MyLA311: MyLA311 is a platform that allows residents to report potholes and other issues directly to the City of Los Angeles. The reports are then sent to the appropriate city department for resolution. You can access the MyLA311 website or app to view pothole reports in LA.

LA City Bureau of Street Services: The LA City Bureau of Street Services is responsible for maintaining the city’s streets, including filling potholes. They provide a pothole repair request form on their website where residents can report potholes that need repair.

OpenStreetMap: OpenStreetMap is a collaborative project that allows users to contribute to the creation of a free, editable map of the world. Users can add information about road conditions, including potholes, to the map. You can access the OpenStreetMap website or app to view pothole information in LA.

Waze: Waze is a navigation app that allows users to report road hazards, including potholes, in real-time. This data can be used to track the location and severity of potholes in the area. You can access the Waze app to view pothole reports in LA.

Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT): The LADOT is responsible for managing the city’s transportation infrastructure, including streets and roadways. They provide a pothole repair request form on their website where residents can report potholes that need repair.

These are just a few examples of the sources you can use to find pothole information in LA. It’s important to note that pothole information may not be available in all areas, and the quality of the data may vary. You may need to combine data from multiple sources to get a complete picture of pothole locations and severity."

This is how I found OpenStreetMap!


Probably. But while it is possible you’ll find here someone who happens to know about those potential data sources, you’ll probably get much more reliable answers about them if you go to their respective official websites and ask about them there.

Also, note that some of that other data source might not be public, or might be publicly available but not with suitable license or in a format that is not useful to you. You’d probably need to do further research for those other data sources if you want to use them.

That is quite nice of ChatGPT to promote this community :slight_smile:

But do note that you should take everything that ChatGPT says with a grain of salt (to say the least). It is known to have many failings, and often might suggest things that don’t exist at all. But it might be usable for making suggestions for areas where you might want to go to do further research. But definitely do not rely on it’s output as is!


The other thing to note with regards to potholes is that they are hopefully! :thinking: only temporary. If they’re only there for <6 months, they shouldn’t really be mapped in OSM anyway.

Those resources (LA Bureau of Street Services, LADOT, 311) are all good places to report potholes to the city, but I’ve never seen them provide a list of roads with poor pavement quality (I imagine they exist internally, but I can also imagine there are PR reasons that they wouldn’t want it to be public). Maybe if you poke around the government websites you’ll find more information. If they did make such data public, you could possibly overlay those data on top of OpenStreetMap if you wanted to. Adding the actual data obtained from the city to the OSM database would be a bit more complicated. Much simpler is collecting the data on road smoothness yourself, in which case you’re free to add it to the map. As others have mentioned, take care to only add data you foresee as being fairly permanent, so individual potholes might be more difficult than general smoothness values.


The alley behind my apartment has had the same potholes at least since I moved there in 2019, so I wouldn’t be so confident! Many areas of Los Angeles (and other places) have notoriously poor streets (LA Roads Among The Worst In The Nation, Report Finds - CBS Los Angeles), due to historic under-investment in road repair common throughout the United States.


@chris_debian wrote a couple of diary entries that you could find interesting, you should check them out :slight_smile:


Good feedback - thank you!

Nope. I don’t.