Development in technology has seen massive changes in the transportation sector, even on the roads. The so-called smart highways or smart roads have emerged, which refer to the integration of technologies in making the road for enhancing the operation of driverless cars, for generating solar energy, for lighting, and for tracking the state of the road. There has also been an inclusion of technology in vehicles to make them more luxurious, safe, and secure. Vehicles are also being installed with the Internet to enable passengers to continue their tasks, even while traveling, and for other functions, like real-time GPS reports. You cannot go wrong installing Eyenet from EyeRide, because you will have the most reliable Internet on your bus.
Smart highways – still a vision
If you were to be asked to talk about a smart highway, you would most likely talk about how it makes the delivery of goods happen faster, how it enhances safety, and other such things. The reality is that the promises delivered by the smart highway have not yet been fulfilled, but some smart features can be seen in some places. Also, technology has been included in planning major transportation infrastructure.
The next step
The next level of smart highway seems to be limited only by imagination. Although the transportation engineers think some technical aspects, like bandwidths and network speeds, may influence the features that get included in various places in constructing smart highways, the greatest factor that will affect the building of the smart highway will be funding—or lack thereof. According to an expert in industrial engineering, technology is headed toward transforming ways of living, and smart trucks must work together with smart infrastructure. The expert added that three technologies are going to change trucking: autonomous driving, data connectivity, and electric power. Although the three are being developed independently, their benefits will be seen when they come together to making trucking better, and to benefit society by improving highway safety, minimizing congestion, and improving the quality of life.
Smart highways in existence
There have been various forms of smart highways already in existence, for example the one in Los Angeles that has been in place for over 30 years. There are about 7.5 million vehicles that go around Los Angeles, the second largest American city. The vehicles are kept moving safely and without disruption due to the utilization of the city’s modern Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control System (ATCS). Introduced in 1984, ATCS has become one of the most advanced traffic control systems in the US and is supported by several data sources. Besides the sensors that generate data every other second, about 500 cameras have been placed at some critical intersections. Sensors relay data to a central control center. Whenever there are congestions on the road, cameras stationed in the vital intersections find out the cause of the hold-up and trigger corrective action, like adjusting cycle durations for traffic lights.
The biggest challenge related to smart highways is the investment in the infrastructure that runs to hundreds of billions of dollars. Another problem is the question of what to do with the data collected by and along smart highways. The manner in which the various agencies will utilize the data is something that calls for consensus by the industry and related players.
For full realization of the vision of smart highways, government agencies and other players in the industry must collaborate, since there are mega investments that call for concerted efforts.