One of the ways how Smart Cities will help urban areas to sustain growth and improve efficiency is by reducing the number of vehicles moving around the city, seeking the Smart Transit concept: highly-efficient autonomous transit systems, merging the flexibility of the personal car with the sustainability of public transit. However, it might take some time for this to happen, as several breakthroughs need to converge together with government legislation and public acceptance.
Another way is to take advantage of the many technological developments (on mobiles devices and self-driving vehicles) for updating the current roads through the Smart Road concept: innovating and improving the driving experience and safety; aiming to anticipate human behaviors and needs, avoiding hazards, and even charging vehicles while preserving the environment.
As we heavily rely on roads (Earth’s most massive infrastructure: covering a total of 30 million kilometers worldwide) to get to our destination, our society is demanding and expecting Smart Roads with an all-inclusive concept for boosting the available infrastructure, while defining a model for roads of the future to achieve Smart Mobility. The Smart Roads: A Vision paper from the Smart Transportation Alliance incorporates some key parameters contributing to the Smart Roads: mobility efficiency, environmental performance, advanced traffic control technology, life-cycle analysis of construction and maintenance costs and energy inputs, user-oriented designs, safety and security performance, and long-term financing solutions.
Smart Roads will be equipped with sensors for data capture and safely response capabilities for any changes in the environment; using the Internet of Things (IoT) to connect to all kind of vehicles (cars, bicycles, trucks...) and to city infrastructure (city lights, traffic signs, warning systems...) for transmitting real-time data across the network to provide quicker, safer and more efficient trips with positive impacts.