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Tomorrow’s Transportation: The Smart Road Ahead

May 5, 2021

The ground transportation sector has begun a quiet technological revolution, fueled by new and exciting tools, more powerful than the global health crisis itself. At the core of such advancements are “smart” technologies. Even before COVID-19 ever hit, innovations had begun to transform the way we move. Now, as people return to the road, the industry is poised to more rapidly catch up with our imagination and that road is soon to become a smart road.

As DPV’s 2021 Transportation Innovations Report explains, smart roads are defined by technologically advanced roadways that drive connectivity, safety, and efficiency–encompassing a range of innovations. The technology has successfully brought our roads to life, and the transition has already begun all over the world. This article summarizes the more comprehensive report’s findings on smart roads.

There are hundreds of projects underway, including but not limited to smart pavement, V2X, pervious asphalt, snowmelt systems, and electrified road developments. These unbelievable streets can repair themselves, automatically melt away snow, charge any electric cars that drive by, and send out urgent warning alerts as well as emergency calls for help. Here’s how:

Detect the data with Smart Pavement.

Smart Pavement costs 95% less to install, but can last 4x longer. Already undergoing tests, the technology utilizes sensors to bolster connectivity. It detects the weight and velocity of vehicles, captures vital data on vehicles as well as road conditions, and provides essential navigation information for vehicles with and without drivers.  

Connect the road with V2X.

Remain in your lane. Follow the traffic laws. Avoid collisions. Real time reminders like these can make all the difference. Imagine 85,000 fewer accidents, 22,294 fewer injuries, and 303 fewer fatalities over a 20 year period in Colorado alone. That’s what AECOM projects V2X technology can achieve by empowering wireless communications between vehicles and each other as well as virtually every other part of the traffic system around them, from traffic lights to guard rails.

Uncrack the cracks with self-healing roads.

Eliminate pot holes. Elevate road safety. Alleviate construction costs. According to SLD4, running an induction machine over steel-filled asphalt could extend the lifespan of roads up to 80 years. Thanks to a clever mixture of materials and careful process, outlined in the DPV Transportation Innovations Report, these roads heal cracks and deterioration on their own without the need for additional human intervention, construction, or disruption.

Clear the road with snowmelt systems.

The New York Post reports that New York City reportedly spent roughly $12 million per inch of snow plowed in the winter of 2019. Snowmelt systems such as heated underground pipes and new electric-powered asphalt reduce labor needs and promote safety by melting the snow or ice on roads and driveways. The invention of electric snow-melting concrete is poised to change the way we clear snow, saving millions of dollars on corrosion-related repair costs.

Charge vehicles with electric roads.

Imagine if you could power your vehicles simply by driving along the road. With the invention of electrified roads, power-by-drive is a reality for electric vehicles. Such smart roads power any compatible electric vehicles that drive along them as well as other elements of their surrounding infrastructure.  DPV’s 2021 Transportation Innovations Report explains that the first electric road is already in operation in Sweden, and various other companies have new electric road systems in development.

Conclusion

As the ground transportation industry rapidly advances, the ground itself transforms. The implications are countless, and while 2020 was a dark year for the industry as well as the world, the future is bright as ever. Driving along the smart roads ahead will be a revolutionary experience–simpler, safer, and more efficient. However, smart roads are just one of many innovations that are changing the way we move. For a deeper look at smart roads and the latest transportation-related technologies, explore DPV’s comprehensive 2021 Ground Transportation Innovations Report, and connect with us to uncover which other new tools apply to your organization and how you could leverage them to move your people forward.

Empower your people to move forward.

Empower your people to move forward.

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