December 4, 2014
Future highways will be made from solar materials and will be governed
by sophisticated technologies that communicate with cars, road
infrastructure and GPS systems, according to a new report.
Arup’s Future of Highways report
considers the consequences of themes including rapid urbanisation up to
2050 and how climate change, resource depletion and changes in human
behaviour will shape our roads in the future.
and researching future trends will help us move towards a connected,
low-carbon future, where mobility solutions put users at the heart of
design and potential challenges are addressed as early as possible. The
changes that this report suggests will provide safer, more reliable and
more environmentally friendly highway infrastructure for generations to
come," says Tony Marshall, Global Highways Leader, Arup.
Surfaces could be replaced with advanced solar panels that would
generate clean and renewable power, and wirelessly charge electric cars
as they are driving or are parked. The panels would also contain LED
lighting and heating elements to melt snow.
As well as highways
evolving, the report foresees that patterns of ownership will change in
the coming years, with commuters more likely to purchase access to a
vehicle rather than the vehicle itself. While the number of motorized
vehicles on our roads is expected to increase by three per cent annually
until 2030, the use of non-motorized transport such as bikes and
walking is also due to rise in popularity. Cities worldwide have already
recognised this trend and have started to implement strategies to
reduce congestion and support the health of their citizens through
various cycle and walking schemes.
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cars are anticipated to become commonplace on the roads of the future
as developments in material science will dramatically improve the
performance of batteries and the potential for increased electricity
storage. Fully-automated navigation systems will also enable roads to be
populated by driverless cars which could change the design and
operation of highways, and provide safety and environmental benefits.
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will become increasingly ‘intelligent’ and ‘self-aware’: a combination
of the connected vehicle and the Internet of Things will enable vehicles
to broadcast and receive information on traffic, speed, weather and
potential safety hazards. As a result, cars will be able to travel
closer together and react more quickly to variables around them. This
will open the market to people previously unable to operate vehicles
such as the elderly or disabled.