Expect dy­namic high­ways that adapt to con­di­tions

The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - Front Page -

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

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