Smart highway

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Smart highway and smart road are terms for a number of different proposals to incorporate technologies into roads for generating solar energy, for improving the operation of autonomous cars, for lighting, and for monitoring the condition of the road. Some of the advantages proposed for at least one type of smart/solar roadway include generation of electrical power (photovoltaic cells would be underneath the heavy duty glass surface of the roadway), ability to light and heat the road surface (by heating the surface a small amount above freezing the road could be kept clear of snow and ice), prevent accidents by monitoring the condition of bridges and by detecting objects on the road (stopped cars, fallen rocks, etc.) and warning oncoming drivers, carry data and power lines underneath the surface.[1]

Vehicle infrastructure integration[edit]

Structural health monitoring[edit]

Intelligent transportation systems[edit]

Intelligent transportation systems usually refers to the use of information and communication technologies (rather than innovations in the construction of the roadway) in the field of road transport, including infrastructure, vehicles and users, and in traffic management and mobility management, as well as for interfaces with other modes of transport.[2]

Further information: Virginia Smart Road

Solar roads[edit]

A photovoltaic solar road is a road surface that generates electricity by collecting solar power with photovoltaics.[3] Parking lots, driveways, streets and eventually highways are all targets for these systems.

In 2013 Students at the Solar Institute at George Washington University installed a solar panel walking path designed by Onyx Solar, something they call solar pavement.[4]

SolaRoad is a system being developed by the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), the Ooms Groep, Imtech and the Netherlands province of North Holland. They plan to install their panels on 100 m of cycle path in Krommenie, Netherlands in November 2014.[5][6][7][8][9][10] A variant concept of a "solar road" installed in Avenhorn, by Ooms Avenhorn Holding AV, uses asphalt and tarmac to absorb the sun’s rays and heat water for use in domestic heating.[11]

The Solar Roadways company of Idaho, USA, is developing a prototype system to replace current roads, parking lots, and driveways with photovoltaic solar road panels that generate electricity.[12]

Road markings[edit]

The 'Smart Highway' being developed by Studio Roosegaarde and infrastructure management group Heijmans of the Netherlands incorporates photo-luminescent paint for road markings. These absorb light during the day then glow for up to 10 hours. A stretch of highway in Brabant, Netherlands was due to have this installed on a trial basis in 2013.[13] In April 2014, the pilot stretch of road was officially opened,[14] but after only two weeks, the paint had stopped glowing due to moisture.[15] New moisture-resistant paint is in development.

Frost protection and melting snow[edit]

Snowmelt systems using electricity or hot water to heat roads and pavements have been installed in various locations. Solar Roadways have proposed combining these with their photovoltaic road panels since these already have electrical power connections for harvesting photovoltaic power.

Studio Roosegaarde have proposed a temperature sensitive version of their photo-luminescent paint which will only glow if temperatures fall below freezing so it can be used for frost warnings signs embedded in the road surface.


  1. ^ Levinson, Sean (May 21, 2014). "If You Need Any Convincing That Solar Roadways Are The Future, This Video Will Help". Daily Elite. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Matej Lufčić; Marina Maras; Mario Vukelić. Energy Saving Design and Materials in Road Transport. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Students Install the World's First Solar Pavement Panels in Virginia | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building". Inhabitat. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  5. ^ "The Netherlands to Pave Roads with Solaroad Solar Panels | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building". Inhabitat. 2012-05-23. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  6. ^ "TNO - SolaRoad combines road and solar cells" (in Dutch). 2011-01-26. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Fietspad dat zonne-energie opwekt een stap dichterbij - Verkeerskunde: hét multimediale platform voor verkeerskundigen". 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  9. ^ "Proef met ingebouwde zonnecellen in fietspad - Groene Courant : Groene Courant - Het meest actuele nieuws over schone energie en duurzaamheid". Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  10. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ "Dutch Company Drives New Solar Power". 
  12. ^ Following the Solar Brick Road
  13. ^ Clark, Liat. "Netherlands highways will glow in the dark from mid-2013 (Wired UK)". Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  14. ^ "Glow in the dark road unveiled in the Netherlands". BBC. 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  15. ^ "Tegenvaller voor Weg van de Toekomst: lichtgevende lijnen werken niet" (in Dutch). Omroep Brabant. 2014-04-25. Retrieved 2014-06-21.