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.
Vehicle infrastructure integration
Structural health monitoring
Intelligent transportation systems
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.
Photovoltaic pavement is a form of pavement that generates electricity by collecting solar power with photovoltaics. Parking lots, foot paths, driveways, streets and highways are all candidate locations where this material could be used.
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.
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. 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.
The Online Electric Vehicle being developed by KAIST (the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) has electrical circuits built into the road which will power suitably adapted vehicles via contactless electromagnetic induction. A pilot system powering electric buses is under development
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. In April 2014, the pilot stretch of road was officially opened, but after only two weeks, the paint had stopped glowing due to moisture. New moisture-resistant paint is in development.
Frost protection and melting snow
Snowmelt systems using electricity or hot water to heat roads and pavements have been installed in various locations. Solar Roadways has proposed including a snowmelt system with their photovoltaic road panels since the panels already have electrical power connections for harvesting photovoltaic power.
Studio Roosegaarde has 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.
- Matej Lufčić; Marina Maras; Mario Vukelić. "Energy Saving Design and Materials in Road Transport". Retrieved 23 May 2014.
- "Students Install the World's First Solar Pavement Panels in Virginia | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building". Inhabitat. Retrieved 2014-06-02.
- "SolaRoad website".
- "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.
- "Dutch Company Drives New Solar Power".
- Following the Solar Brick Road singularityhub.com
- Clark, Liat. "Netherlands highways will glow in the dark from mid-2013 (Wired UK)". Wired.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-06-02.
- "Glow in the dark road unveiled in the Netherlands". BBC. 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-06-21.
- "Tegenvaller voor Weg van de Toekomst: lichtgevende lijnen werken niet" (in Dutch). Omroep Brabant. 2014-04-25. Retrieved 2014-06-21.