7 Ways to Advocate For Government Change

7 Ways to Advocate For Government Change
February 20, 2019 Benjamin Schmidt, PhD
We at RoadBotics are passionate about working with communities to deliver better roads. It is our mission and our distinct pleasure to be working with a technology that has the power to revolutionize the way the US works with infrastructure.
We use a smartphone camera mounted on a windshield to collect video data while driving roads. Next, our advanced AI algorithm developed at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University identifies surface distresses like cracks, potholes,  and raveling to create a comprehensive map of the network.
With this map, governments appropriately allocate their budget dollars (and set their budget) to prevent potholes and ensure that your community has the best road network for the dollar.
Sounds crazy right? Well, we are already working with 100+ governments in the US and they are already seeing the benefits. So how can you, dear citizen, get involved?

1. Local Board Meetings

Every government (in the US at least) hosts a regular meeting of the elected officials to discuss matters of government business. They almost always include a forum for citizens to discuss issues they have in their community with there elected officials. This is an excellent opportunity to advocate for better road infrastructure and more transparency on how budget dollars are being spent.

2. Submit Questions to Website

Most governments have a website. Their quality can vary a lot. Many of them provide a way to contact your local government via a form or email. This is a great way to ask questions, request information or ask them directly what is the best way to present new ideas.

3. Social Media

Social_Media

While not every government has jumped on the social media bandwagon, many of them have. This can be either a way to engage directly with the government officials or whoever is responsible for the social media program. Since they are usually public they typically will make an effort to respond. Some even have performance goals on responses and so they will definitely respond.

4. Community Groups

Joining with like-minded individuals in your community is a great way to gain momentum and a bigger voice. Maybe the group already has ideas or a campaign to influence local policy. No group exists? Start one!

5. Petition

A petition is a lengthy process but it has a lot of impact. Going door to door collecting signatures of residents or even sitting at a local coffee shop can quickly get one hundred or more signatures. There is nothing like a petition to get local officials to recognize the importance of an issue.

6. Create a movement

Create_A_Movement

Live on a prominent street and have some design chops? Make a great sign to post in your front lawn. Get extra copies to share with neighbors and you can start to get the message out there. When not during an election, those little election signs in a front-lawn will certainly make people look twice to figure out what you’re up to.

7. Run for office

If all else fails, run for office! You can much more easily make a difference if you are the one making the decisions. Easy.
All in all, governments represent the people. It is the responsibility of every citizen to ensure that their government understands their issues. Now get out there and make a difference!