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The Past, Present, and Future of Road Technology

Road construction may be frustrating to drivers, but it is essential to safety and good traffic management. Technology is being used to facilitate the speed of projects and to enhance safety. Consider these ways in which roads and curbs are benefiting from technological advances.

Optical Fibers

Optical fibers are being added to concrete mixtures for use in a variety of applications, including curb and road surfaces. The optical fibers generate translucent concrete. This can be helpful in places where there are no lights on the sides of the roads. During the day, the concrete absorbs light energy such that it glows after dark. The lit curbs make it safer for people to walk at night and the lit roads enhance safety so that drivers can avoid potholes and other hazards.

Self-cleaning Roads

The addition of titanium dioxide to concrete and asphalt mixtures for use in roads is helping to make roads that clean themselves. The titanium breaks down algae and dirt that might otherwise build up on the road’s surface. These roads also help to reduce air pollution from traffic. The titanium dioxide reduces nitrogen dioxide emissions by about 45%.

Smart Curb Ramps

New technological developments are allowing for the use of sensors at curbs. These can be integrated with the buttons that pedestrians use to get a walk signal. The sensors help to time walk signals so that pedestrians can safely navigate and traffic is not tied up by multiple requests in a short amount of time. Though these high-tech advancements are certainly impressive, many people don’t consider that the proper grading, inclusion of non-skid surfaces and alignment of curbs and curb ramps are also technological advancements that are continuously being developed. Traditional contractors, like Kerb Doctors and others like them, are working to develop and improve these technologies, which can increase pedestrian safety and even assist in proper drainage. These technologies are designed to help people with visual or mobility impairments to safely cross a street that is curbed.

Energy Saving Road Surfaces

Updates to asphalt and concrete blends and the integration of solar panels and cells into roads are helping to reduce the amount of fuel that is used for travel. Solar panels can be used to power traffic lights and lampposts on the side of the road. This helps to maintain safety in case of an electrical power outage. The new, smoother road surfaces can decrease fuel use by making the road easier to drive on. There are less wear and tear on the road and on tires.

As technology advances, roads may become safer, easier to navigate and better at controlling traffic. For pedestrians, these advancements may mean curbs and sidewalks that are designed to adjust to weather hazards.

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