Dan and Bex are finding out what makes a great road – both now and for the future. They wonder “what if?” and how things might change.
What might roads be like in 10, 50 or even 100 years from now?
A truly great road has to be fit for the future and all it may bring.
And you may be surprised to know that some of your ideas are already a reality.
More driverless vehicles are already being built – so roads need to be smarter to be able to give those vehicles plenty of information to help them navigate safely.
Smart studs set into the road surface are already being used in trials to gather data from a range of sensors regarding different activities such as weather, traffic levels and speed.
We can expect to see new and exciting designs to help reduce speeds and help people understand the roads – perhaps by dividing up how the space is shared or with coloured tarmac to make it more obvious where different groups of people should be. Safer roads mean fewer accidents!
Smart lighting is certainly part of the future of road design – whether solar panels set in super tough glass pavements or road surfaces, or cats’ eyes which switch on or off with traffic lights to help drivers choose the right lanes. That’s something we’re already beginning to see – there’s a famous interchange in Merseyside called Switch Island which uses smart lane lighting, and as a result accidents have reduced tremendously!
The materials used to build roads are certainly likely to change as tougher greener options which last for longer are developed. After all, preserving resources is something we know will become even more vital in the future.
It’s possible more people will choose greener options such as cycling, especially if roads and dedicated cycle paths are designed to make cycling easier. The very design of the road can actually change the way we travel!