Evolving Road Construction Technology

The global road network is one of the largest networks we have today. The United States alone has a total length of 6.6 million kilometers of the road network. Different road types depend on their use, location and construction method. The majority of roads are formed from crushed rock, sand, and asphalt in a process that releases volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere. In order to reduce the environmental impact of road construction a number of new innovations are now being trialed. Today we will be taking a look at the new road technology engineers and researchers and working on this includes solar roads, plastic roads, glowing roads, glowing roads, prefabricated plastic roads.

Recycled Plastic Roads

Replacing some of the finite resources used in road construction with one of the most prevailing waste product all whilst extending the life of the roadway itself makes a lot of sense. It is one of the most eco-friendly ways of road construction. Made entirely of recycled plastics these roads are durable, flexible, and create a second life for items that would otherwise sit rotting on a landfill. In America alone 38 billion water bottles get thrown in the trash each year, plastic roads will be a lightweight durable solution to this big waste problem. In India, the process of melting plastics for filling the potholes has been happening on a small scale for a number of years. British engineer Toby McCartney recognized the benefits of using plastic in roads and developed a method of turning plastic bottles into small pellets that could be added to an asphalt mix to increase its bulk. McCartney’s solution has created roadways that are 60{4c8208f40a3bfb7c707da805487d02877323e3f237411057a481ffa403c1a164} stronger and lasts 10 times longer than those built with conventional methods. Cumbria (county of UK) quickly noticed the benefits of this innovation and have adopted the process for new public roads in the region using 3-10 kilograms of waste plastic per tonne of asphalt and with roughly 10 tons of asphalt used in every kilometer of roadway construction. This process has the potential to lock up a considerable amount of waste material that could otherwise end in landfills or oceans.

Prefabricated Plastic Roads

Dutch company KWS together with Waving and totau have developed plastic road, a prefabricated modular roadway made from recycled plastic. The new roads are designed with hollow cardboard like a center that allows water to drain while remaining sturdy enough to hold up even the heaviest of trucks it would be modular, 100{4c8208f40a3bfb7c707da805487d02877323e3f237411057a481ffa403c1a164} recyclable and much faster to install than the average roadway. The products anticipated lifespan is three times longer than that of a normal road buildup, it is also four times lighter and can be constructed 70{4c8208f40a3bfb7c707da805487d02877323e3f237411057a481ffa403c1a164} faster in a traditional asphalt roadway. Plastic roads hollow design allows service pipes and cables to be fed through its road deck without the need for extensive digging. Some of the space can also be used to store access to water during storms. With a number of trial projects been planned you will see prefabricated plastic roads on a street near you in the not too distant future.

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Solar Roads

We all know that renewable energy is the future of our power production especially when it comes to solar power but this environment-friendly movement has ventured to an unlikely territory i.e. the roads. the roads absorb plenty of sunlight every day, so why just let all that power be absorbed by a wasteful tar when we could use it to power our cities. This exciting technology uses biodegradable glass that has been tempered, tested and textured for a strong lasting roadway. The panels are modular like a honeycomb of a beehive and each panel can be replaced independently of the surrounding panels it gets damaged or breaks down. This technology is advantageous in many other ways such as the early warnings they give about the weather conditions, traffic, accidents all that and more can be programmed to display on the surface of the panels, plus the panels can use their collective energy to make their own heat to melt snow and ice, making driving safer and comfortable. Incorporating solar panels directly into the road network has the potential to turn a static piece of infrastructure into a major source of renewable energy production.

Companies such as solar roadways in the United States, WhatWay in France, and Solar Road in the Netherlands have all developed prototype systems that are durable enough to withstand traffic loads and the elements. While the concept is sounding advantageous, critics have raised a number of concerns around this new type of roadway including the safety of vehicles over the toughened glass or silica that is required to protect the photovoltaic elements and, How effective horizontal solar panels can be as compared to those positioned diagonally on roofs.

Electric Priority Lanes

There was a time when electric cars were not given much importance and petrol-diesel cars were much more preferred by everyone, But today is the time for Hybrid to fully automated vehicles. Electric cars are slowly taking over the automobile industry. Though they are expensive and many of them need at least some gas to function, the batteries are also likely to kick in during a long trip but that’s where electric priority lanes come in.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

These smart roadways would be a superhighway for electric cars that not only could warn drivers of dangerous conditions up ahead but they could even potentially be outfitted to charge cars as they drive i.e, no more stalling out halfway to your destination, no more panicking trying to remember if you put gas in just in case your battery runs out, that takes care of all of it for you. These electric priority lanes would make ecologically healthier cars a more appealing option while simultaneously creating better-prepared drivers across-the-board.

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Glowing Roads in the Dark

A new pilot thinking project has been started by the Netherlands that involves glow in the dark paint to mark roadways, the railway markers spend all day charging in the Sun and then glow all night without the need of electricity. This paint is formulated to last and hold its glow for up to 10 hours if conditions are good. Increasing visibility for longer periods of time without requiring the use of electricity. The hope is that this project will increase road safety and visibility for drivers at night in places where street lights simply are not financially or physically feasible.

Several engineers are trying to overcome these challenges with a drive to reduce pollution, recycle plastic and construct a more sustainable built environment innovative solutions like some of these mentioned here can make a significant difference when applied to something vast as the global road network.

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