Smart highway

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Smart highway and smart road are terms for a number of different ways technologies are incorporated into roads, for improving the operation of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs[1]), for traffic lights and street lighting, and for monitoring the condition of the road, traffic levels and the speed of vehicles.[2]

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.[3]

Vehicle infrastructure integration[edit]

Structural health monitoring[edit]

Solar Road Panels[edit]

The main purpose of solar roadways is to replace asphalt roads with Solar Panels which generate energy through the sun that can be used by local houses or businesses that are connected to the system from either the house’s driveway or the businesses parking lot. The panels will also increase the number of charging stations for electric cars if that station is connected to the solar roadway. Each panel is roughly 12’ by 12’ of interlocking panels that have their own LED lights that will be used as the road lines, and can also be used to spell out words like “Reduce Speed” or “Traffic Ahead” to help the flow of traffic.[4]

There are 3 layers that make up the solar panels:

1. The Road Surface Layer - The Road Layer is the High Strength layer that has the photovoltaic cells which attracts the sun’s rays, it has traction so vehicles don’t slide off the road, and it’s waterproof to protect the layers below.[4]

2. The Electronic Layer - The Electronic Layers contain a mini microprocessor board that helps control the heating element of the panels, this technology can help melt the snow that lands on the panels so that hazardous road conditions will no longer be an issue in the more northern regions. This layer can sense how much weight is on the panels and can control the heating element to melt the snow.[4]

3. The Base Plate Layer - The Base Plate Layer is the layer that collects the energy from the sun and distributes the power to the homes or businesses that are connected to the solar roadways. This will also be used to transfer the energy to cars as they drive over the strip to recharge the battery.[4]


Slate magazine stated that solar roadways would produce less electricity than solar cells that are placed at an angle, and that less light would touch them because of shade, dirt covering the road, and cars blocking the sun from touching the panels.[5]

Critics have pointed out that solar roadways would be both more expensive, and less productive than more conventional ways of combining solar power with infrastructure, such as building shelters over roads and parking areas and putting traditional solar panels on the roofs; Elon Musk demonstrated that there is ample space in the US, apart from roads, to fulfill the power requirements of the country.[6][7][8]

Smart pavement[edit]

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) began testing out “smart pavement” at a rest stop outside of Conway, Missouri along historic Route 66 late in 2016. The pilot program currently covers about 200 square feet of sidewalk at the visitor center and cost $100,000 (Landers), largely subsidized by the Federal Highway Administration.[9] It’s all part of Missouri’s Road to Tomorrow initiative to find new innovations in their transportation infrastructure. Missouri wants to take advantage of these roadways to implement other, related technologies. The panels will heat the road and keep snow and ice from accumulating. They will also feature LED diodes that will increase the visibility of road lines. The LEDs would also double in helping prevent paint from inhibiting solar power generation.[10] The panels have not had enough time to determine durability, energy efficiency, or cost effectiveness in a real world sense yet, so MoDOT has not reach any conclusions about feasibility and future application yet.

Wireless vehicle charging[edit]

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. Germany's IAV is another company that is developing induction chargers.

Electromechanical batteries[edit]

Roadway-powered electric vehicle system is the patent held by Howard R. Ross. It has several components. The first of which is an all electric vehicle that would be fit with electromechanical batteries that accept a charge from the road. The road is the second component and would have strategically placed charging coils as to only charge the car when needed. These cars and roads would not require gas or solar power.[11]

Nowhere in the world is an invention like this currently implemented, and this is due to the cost of the infrastructure overhaul that would be needed to bring this patent into reality.

Road markings[edit]

Glowing Lines, Studio Roosegaarde

The Smart Highway concept developed by Studio Roosegaarde and the infrastructure management group Heijmans in the Netherlands incorporated photo-luminescent paint for road markings, which absorb light during the day then glow for up to 10 hours. The technology was demonstrated on a stretch of highway in Brabant, Netherlands.[12][13]

Frost protection and melting snow, ice[edit]

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.[14] Critics point to the very large energy requirements of such a system (much greater than the energy collected by the roadway in ideal conditions).[15][16]

ICAX Limited of London's "Interseasonal Heat Capture" technology captures solar energy in thermal banks and releases it back under a roadway, heating it and keeping asphalt free of ice.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ IoT Update: How Smart Cities and Connected Cars May Benefit from Each Other Published by on 28 March 2019, retrieved on April 8, 2019
  2. ^ AA sounds safety warning over smart motorways Published by The Guardia on April 8, 2019, retrieved on April 8, 2019
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d Ranjan, Rajeev (January–February 2015). "Solar Power Roads: Revitalising Solar Highways, Electrical Power and Smart Grids". International Journal of Engineering Research and General Science. 3 (1): 380–385.
  5. ^ Patel, Neel V. (December 28, 2017). "What Is the Point of a Solar Road?" – via Slate.
  6. ^ "Elon Musk Demonstrates Why Solar Roadways Would be Really Silly". Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  7. ^ "Solar Roadways: An Engineering FAILURE". 2017-05-18. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  8. ^ "Cookiemelding -".
  9. ^ Cronkleton, Robert A. (August 4, 2016). "Missouri's solar roadways to begin with sidewalk at historic Route 66 Welcome Center". Kansas City Star. Archived from the original on 11 May 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  10. ^ Landers, Jay (2016). "Missouri to Test Solar Roadways, Smart Pavement as Part of Road to Tomorrow Project". Civil Engineering—ASCE. 86 (9): 30–31. Archived from the original on 4 May 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  11. ^ Ross, H.R. "Roadway-Powered Electric Vehicle System". Google Patents.
  12. ^ Clark, Liat. "Netherlands highways will glow in the dark from mid-2013 (Wired UK)". Archived from the original on 2014-05-30. Retrieved 2014-06-02.
  13. ^ "Glow in the dark road unveiled in the Netherlands". BBC. 2014-04-14. Archived from the original on 2014-07-03. Retrieved 2014-06-21.
  14. ^ "Solar-powered 'smart' roads could zap snow, ice" Archived 2017-02-04 at the Wayback Machine, Thom Patterson. CNN. January 19, 2011. Retrieved 8 feb 2017
  15. ^ "Solar Powered Roads: The Future, or Just Hype?" Archived 2017-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, Andy Jensen. Zero to 60 Times. June 2016. Retrieved 8 feb 2017
  16. ^ Ryan, Dylan. "Solar panels replaced tarmac on a road -- here are the results". The Conversation. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  17. ^ "Independent results published by TRL on Toddington ice clearing demonstration using Interseasonal Heat Transfer™ to heat roads" Archived 2016-12-19 at the Wayback Machine, ICAX. April 2008. Retrieved 8 feb 2017

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