The evolution of smart highways is expected to improve road access and safety in urban areas, according to Navigant Research.
Examining how cities can utilise new smart highway technologies, the company’s latest report, The Convergence of Smart Highways and Smart Cities, provides an overview of current and recent test installations, and details the influence of automated vehicles and electric vehicles (AVs and EVs).
What is a smart highway?
Moving people and goods efficiently is essential for any city. Smart highways, or smart roads, incorporate various new technologies for communication between vehicles, infrastructure and transport officials. As well as enabling connected and autonomous driving, they help manage the flow of traffic and could also lead to wireless vehicle charging.
As the report explains, new road marking and signage technologies make it easier for machine vision and other sensors to monitor the local road situation, and new highway sensors can send data reports on road conditions to central service centres which can then deliver instructions to help optimise traffic flow.
Meanwhile, electric roads are already being developed and prototyped in different ways, including dynamic wireless charging, direct contact power supply, and local electricity generation and storage.
‘Significant element’ of smart cities
“Smart highways are a significant element of the smart cities industry,” commented Ryan Citron, senior research analyst at Navigant. “Sensors and connectivity, road markings and signs, and electric roads are expected to enable smart highways that deliver reduced congestion, fewer collisions and cleaner air.”
Navigant Research recommends that cities engage in long-term road infrastructure planning, while suppliers and technology developers focus on a modular approach and interoperability, and road construction companies collaborate with their suppliers to develop global solutions.