Guest post written by José María Castrillón Montes from ACCIONA Construction
The concept of smart mobility is nothing new. People were talking about the subject back in the 1980s. Since then, though, the focus has been on the vehicles, with various elements incorporated to help driving and improve driver safety. During the past couple of years, however, the innovators have changed their focus - and are investigating the smart technology they can introduce on the roads themselves.
Engineers at Heijmans Infrastructure, in collaboration with the Roosegaarde design studio, have been working on the Smart Highway sustainable mobility project to fit motorways with a range of smart technology applications that can interact with the driver while respecting the environment.
The ideas produced by the project were an instant hit, winning one of Denmark’s internationally prestigious INDEX Awards for 2013, recognizing designs that ‘improve life’ while promoting a more sustainable future.
A new horizon for sustainable mobility
The first Smart Highway innovation employs photosensitive paints for road markings that illuminate the road at night and which are recharged during the day by sunlight. These dynamic paints, however, are also visible in any kind of weather and can even generate informative symbols in the surface of the road for the driver to warn of worsening conditions.
With the same passion for innovation, the engineers are also studying initiatives that allow energy to be generated alongside the road itself. These include capturing the air current of a vehicle, as it passes by, to rotate small turbine generators that provide the driver with more light at night.
Recharging an electric vehicle while driving
Another highly useful innovation that can be added to roads further aims to optimize sustainable mobility by dedicating lanes to recharging electric vehicle batteries during driving.
And it won’t be long before we can try out smart roads for ourselves. The first Smart Highway prototype is being tested at Oss, in the province of Noord-Brabant in the Netherlands. If all goes well, the use of smart highways will be extended throughout Europe.
Source: Heijmans Infrastructure.
José María Castrillón Montes
Technical Project Manager. Marketing and Communication Department. ACCIONA Construction
Twitter profile: @JM_castrillon