Future highways will be made from self-healing, glow-in-the-dark materials and will be governed by sophisticated technologies that communicate with cars, road infrastructure and GPS systems, according to global engineering and design consultancy, Arup.
The company has put together a report called “The Future of Highways” which looks into transport needs of cities in 2050 – when it is expected 75% of the world’s population will be urban dwellers.
“Anticipating and researching future trends will help us move towards a connected, low-carbon future, where mobility solutions put users at the heart of design,” said Arup’s global highways leader Tony Marshall.
Self-healing concretewhich produces bacteria to fill cracks when concrete gets damaged would cut maintenance costs
These savings could have a considerable environmental impact as 7% of the world’s CO2 emissions are due to concrete production.
Surfaces could be replaced with solar panels that would generate clean renewable power, and wirelessly charge electric cars. Thereport says vehicles will become increasingly “self-aware” so an on-line connected vehicle will broadcast and receive information on traffic, speed, weather and potential safety hazards.
Cars will be able to travel closer together and react more quickly to incidents. This will open the market to people previously unable to operate vehicles such as the elderly.