Expect dynamic highways that adapt to conditions
Smart cars are hogging all the lanes right now, but the future of motoring means smart streets too.
According to Future of Highways, a report from engineering group Arup, we can expect dynamic highways with road signs that adapt to changing driving conditions, such as glow-in-the-dark road markings.
Little wind turbines along the roadside might power illumination, with LED lights attached to turbines to catch wind generated by passing vehicles. Traffic lights and control systems will be automated, to optimise flows.
Road-making might be more sustainable, with plastic waste taking the place of bitumen. Alternatively, traditional roads could be replaced by solar panels that contain LED lighting and heating elements to melt snow, or inductive elements to charge electric vehicles as they drive.
Researchers in the UK are looking into potholes – developing self-healing concrete that uses bacteria to seal cracks.
There will likely be more cars on the road. Who makes them will depend on who cracks the autonomous vehicle code first – car makers or technology firms. Either way, a move from car ownership to mobility as a service is on the way. Users will whizz around on a pay-as-you-go basis, possibly putting an end to buses and trains.
Vast swathes of cities and towns currently paved over for car parking will be freed up for alternative uses, including residential building. This will be