The Design Behind Constructing Smart Roads

by | Apr 10, 2018 | Construction Technology, Trending | 4 comments

There are at least a couple of approaches to constructing smart roads. One way is to erect traffic signal controllers that will “broadcast signal, phase and timing (SPaT) information to vehicles.” WSP USA (formerly WSP – Parsons Brinkerhoff) is consulting with Minnesota to do this between downtown Minneapolis and parts of Interstate 394. At first, the system will manage traffic signals to benefit the snow plows. It will also provide road construction information to motorists through dynamic message signs, mobile apps and radio. And, bus drivers will get early warnings about pedestrians in crosswalks.

Activate the slider to see more about SPaT.

What's SPaT All About?

Constructing smart roads often involves using DSRC devices to broadcast and accept information about trafficA Signal Phase and Timing (SPaT) message defines the signal light phases at traffic intersections. The technology provides information about all the lanes at the intersection. That includes how many vehicles, where they are and whether there are any active preemptions or priorities. Users can get the SPaT message from a traffic signal controller using a standard query protocol. The SPaT message is broadcast by most Dedicated Short Range Communication devices as a standardized data message.

DSRC Equipment Examples

DSRC Equipment Examples

Another way in constructing smart roads is to embed technology directly into the roadway. This is what Integrated Roadways, a technology startup from Kansas City, Missouri, is doing in partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).The project features Integrated Roadways’ patented “Smart Pavement” technology, which makes roadways touch-sensitive to vehicle positions. The one-half-mile of Smart Pavement on US285 near Fairplay, CO, will collect data on run-off-the-road (ROTR) accidents, and send automatic notices to CDOT over a five-year demonstration period.

“Smart Pavement is the future of our roadways, transforming roads into a digital platform for advanced mobility applications,” says Tim Sylvester, Integrated Roadways’ founder. “Smart Pavement identifies vehicle positions and behaviors in real-time, simplifying autonomous vehicle operation, providing dynamic traffic information, automatic notification for accidents, permanent vehicle counts, pavement condition indexing, and data-driven safety improvements. Future versions will make the road financially self-sustaining by selling access to data, connectivity, and services.”

Integrated Roadway Detail