Kansas City, MO–based startup Integrated Roadways is piloting two projects that would bring sensors as well as phone and internet connectivity to those cities' roads, according to Government Technology.
One of the projects will be located in Kansas City and the other in a yet-to-be-named city outside of Missouri. The combined 1.5 miles of pavement should be completed by August 2018.
Using data collected from the roads, the company wants to help city officials track issues like congestion and the need for maintenance monitor vehicles and offer a place to lay fiber-optic cable to increase internet bandwidth. Future hardware could support connected or self-driving vehicles.
Interest in smart roads is growing as federal, state and local officials look for new and more efficient ways to monitor the nation's infrastructure. Key Market Insights projects the global smart-highway market to more than double from $14.25 billion in 2015 to $32.81 billion through 2020.
In Florida, a new test track under construction will experiment with high-speed tolling technology and vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communication with the goal of increasing efficiency and speed for those traveling the Florida Turnpike.
Georgia officials are testing smart-highway and vehicle technology along a 16-mile segment of Interstate 85. Outfitted with sensors, solar pavement and electronic and autonomous vehicle technologies, the upgraded road, project partners say, will be safer, more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.
Part of the rapid growth in smart highways can be attributed to the development of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology, Key Market reported. However, although some private companies are piloting driverless programs and state-level interest and investment is growing, CAV initiatives are still in their infancy.
More testing facilities are popping up across the U.S. The American Center for Mobility at Willow Run, being built near Detroit, is one such site and is among a group selected by the Department of Transportation as national testing stages for such technology as it makes its way to the roads.
Rhode Island is seeking details from CAV companies to study the technology, while Ohio is underway with what will likely be the country's longest autonomous car-ready roadway. The 35-mile stretch of Interstate 33 will have sensors to collect weather and traffic data, fiber-optic cables to provide nearby towns with faster internet and — by next summer, Inverse reported — the ability to share data with connected vehicles.