Transportation planning is essential for any city, but the advent of smart highways requires cities to think in new and different ways when it comes to planning road projects.

This is evident in a new report from Navigant Research, which shows smart highway concepts in road marking and signage makes it easier for machine vision and other sensors to monitor the local road situation, and new highway sensors can send data reports on road conditions to central service centers that then develop and deliver instructions to the fleet to optimize traffic flow.

In order to achieve this, cities need to engage in long-term road infrastructure planning, while the technology companies focus on a modular approach and interoperability. Further, road construction companies can collaborate with suppliers to develop global solutions.

At the same time, construction companies need to consider the role of autonomous and electric vehicles—both in the design and construction of road projects.

Several equipment manufacturers are already exploring the future for autonomous and electric transport solutions. For instance, Volvo Group offers a new transport solution that consists of autonomous electric vehicles that are wirelessly connected to a transport control center, which monitors parameters such as each vehicle’s location, load and battery charge, and more.

In parallel, the company has conducted in-depth research into autonomous vehicles and self-driving concept cars. Recently, it presented its LX2 construction machine, which is an electric compact wheel loader concept. The second-generation prototype is part of a research project and is not commercially available yet. It delivers far lower noise levels, improved efficiency, and lower operating costs.

And this is just one example. Our highways are changing. They are becoming embedded with technology that will enable smarter transportation. This is just the beginning of what we will see next for our highways of the future.

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Laura Black
Laura Blackeditor