Smart highway

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Smart highways and smart roads[1] are highways and roads that incorporate electronic technologies. They are used to improve the operation of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs[2]), for traffic lights and street lighting, and for monitoring the condition of the road, as well as traffic levels and the speed of vehicles.[3]

Intelligent transportation systems

Intelligent transportation systems usually refer to the use of information and communication technologies (rather than innovations in the construction of the roadway) in the field of road transport, infrastructure, vehicles, and users, and in traffic management and mobility management, as well as for interfaces with other modes of transportation.[4]

Vehicle infrastructure integration

Structural health monitoring

Solar road panels


The principal idea of solar road panels is to utilize the space occupied by the roads to generate electricity via photovoltaic panels installed in place of a conventional concrete or asphalt road surface.[5] Other functions for solar road panels have since then been proposed. One proposition is its use to power LED lights for creating dynamic road markings, such as lane markings, or warning messages such as “Reduce Speed” signs.[5] Another function that has been proposed is using it to power heating elements that produce sufficient energy to clear ice and snow from roadways.[5] It has also been suggested that they could power wireless charging technology to recharge the batteries of electric vehicles that drive over the panels.[5]


Critics have highlighted that solar roadways would be more expensive, due to the cost of panels and the required extensive maintenance associated. Furthermore, they have argued they are less productive than more conventional forms of solar power infrastructure, as the panels cannot be angled towards the sun, requiring thicker glass to withstand the weight of traffic and lack of cooling of the panels.[6]


An experimental 1-kilometer road in France called Wattway, the longest solar road in the world, inaugurated in December 2016 by Segolene Royal, the Minister of the Environment, fell apart by August 2018. Described as a fiasco by Le Monde, it produced half of the electricity expected, created bothersome noises from traffic, and deteriorated substantially over two years.[7]

Vehicle charging


Electric road technologies which power and charge electric vehicles while driving were assessed in Sweden from 2013.[8]:12 The assessment was scheduled to conclude in 2022.[9] The first standard for electrical equipment on-board a vehicle powered by a rail electric road system (ERS), CENELEC Technical Standard 50717, has been approved in late 2022.[10] Following standards, encompassing "full interoperability" and a "unified and interoperable solution" for ground-level power supply, are scheduled to be published by the end 2024, detailing complete "specifications for communication and power supply through conductive rails embedded in the road".[11][12] The first permanent electric road in Sweden is planned to be completed by 2026[13] on a section of the E20 route between Hallsberg and Örebro, followed by an expansion of further 3000 kilometers of electric roads by 2045.[14]


The Online Electric Vehicle developed by KAIST, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, uses inductive vehicle charging. Its system has inductive coils built into the road that delivers power to receivers mounted on the underside of electric vehicles.[15]:16 Commercialization of the technology has not been successful, leading to a controversy over the continued public funding of the technology in 2019.[16] The German company IAV developed similar technology in 2009.[17] As of 2021, companies such as Magment, Electreon, and IPT are currently developing dynamic inductive coil charging technologies.[18] Additionally, IPT is developing a system that uses inductive rails instead of coils, as the current standards which use coils that were deemed "extremely expensive" for dynamic charging, according to its CEO.[19]

Usage for road markings

Glowing Lines, Studio Roosegaarde

The Smart Highway concept developed by Studio Roosegaarde and the infrastructure management group Heijmans in the Netherlands incorporated photo-luminescent paint for road markings, which absorb light during the day then glow for a period up to 10 hours. In its first design, the Glowing Lines charges during the daytime and glows for several hours at night to create a positive highway experience and increase safety.[20] In April 2014, a pilot stretch of highway in Brabant, Netherlands was officially opened, demonstrating the technology.[21][22] After two weeks, the paint had stopped glowing due to damage from moisture.[23]

Frost protection and melting snow, ice

Snowmelt systems using electricity or hot water to heat roads and pavements have been installed in various locations.

Solar Roadways has proposed including a snowmelt system with their photovoltaic road panels, since the panels already have electrical power connections for harvesting photovoltaic power.[24] Critics point to the very large energy requirements of such a system (much greater than the energy collected by the roadway in ideal conditions).[25][26]

ICAX Limited of London's "Interseasonal Heat Capture" technology captures solar energy in thermal banks and releases it back under a roadway, heating it and keeping the asphalt free of ice.[27]

See also


  1. ^ Toh, Chai K.; Sanguesa, Julio A.; Cano, Juan C.; Martinez, Francisco J. (29 January 2020). "Advances in Smart Roads for Future Smart Cities, Proceedings of The Royal Society Part A, Vol. 476, No. 2233, 2020". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 476 (2233). doi:10.1098/rspa.2019.0439. PMC 7016555. PMID 32082053.
  2. ^ IoT Update: How Smart Cities and Connected Cars May Benefit from Each Other Published by on 28 March 2019, retrieved on April 8, 2019
  3. ^ AA sounds safety warning over smart motorways Published by The Guardian on April 8, 2019, retrieved on April 8, 2019
  4. ^[bare URL]
  5. ^ a b c d Ranjan, Rajeev (January–February 2015). "Solar Power Roads: Revitalising Solar Highways, Electrical Power and Smart Grids". International Journal of Engineering Research and General Science. 3 (1): 380–385.
  6. ^ "Solar Roadways: An Engineering FAILURE". 2017-05-18. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  7. ^ Igor Bonnet (23 July 2019). "En Normandie, le fiasco de la plus grande route solaire du monde". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 14 August 2019. Après avoir produit la première année un peu plus de 50 % des 790 kilowattheures (kWh) par jour attendus, soit un total de 149 459 kWh sur l'année, l'équipement a généré 78 397 kWh en 2018 et 37 900 kWh depuis janvier, comme l'indiquait, début juillet, le relevé de l'association de promotion du photovoltaïque BDPV, qui recense la production d'installations solaires en France.
  8. ^ Swedish Transport Administration (November 29, 2017), National roadmap for electric road systems (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on November 24, 2020
  9. ^ Regler för statliga elvägar SOU 2021:73 (PDF), Regeringskansliet (Government Offices of Sweden), September 1, 2021, pp. 291–297, archived from the original (PDF) on September 2, 2021
  10. ^ "PD CLC/TS 50717 Technical Requirements for Current Collectors for ground-level feeding system on road vehicles in operation", The British Standards Institution, 2022, archived from the original on January 2, 2023, retrieved January 2, 2023
  11. ^ Final draft: Standardization request to CEN-CENELEC on 'Alternative fuels infrastructure' (AFI II) (PDF), European Commission, February 2, 2022
  12. ^ Matts Andersson (July 4, 2022), Regulating Electric Road Systems in Europe - How can a deployment of ERS be facilitated? (PDF), CollERS2 - Swedish German research collaboration on Electric Road Systems
  13. ^ "Rebecka Johansson, Ministry of Infrastructure - ERS Regulations, policies and strategies in Sweden", Electric Road Systems - PIARC Online Discussion, November 4, 2021, 14 minutes 25 seconds into the video
  14. ^ Jonas Grönvik (September 1, 2021), "Sverige på väg att bli först med elvägar – Rullar ut ganska snabbt", Ny Teknik
  15. ^ D Bateman; et al. (October 8, 2018), Electric Road Systems: a solution for the future (PDF), TRL, archived (PDF) from the original on 3 August 2020, retrieved 10 February 2021
  16. ^ Kwak Yeon-soo (24 March 2019). "ICT minister nominee accused of wasting research money". The Korea Times.
  17. ^ Bill Christensen (October 11, 2009), "In-Road Electric Vehicle Charger",
  18. ^ Amy M. Dean (August 29, 2021), German Co. Works Alongside INDOT to Create Concrete Roads that Can Charge EVs as they Drive Along, International Society for Concrete Pavements
  19. ^ E-Mobility Engineering staff (September 6, 2021), "Wireless Charging", E-Mobility Engineering
  20. ^ "Smart Highway | Smart Highway | Studio Roosegaarde".
  21. ^ Clark, Liat. "Netherlands highways will glow in the dark from mid-2013 (Wired UK)". Wired UK. Archived from the original on 2014-05-30. Retrieved 2014-06-02.
  22. ^ "Glow in the dark road unveiled in the Netherlands". BBC. 2014-04-14. Archived from the original on 2014-07-03. Retrieved 2014-06-21.
  23. ^ "Tegenvaller voor Weg van de Toekomst: lichtgevende lijnen werken niet" (in Dutch). Omroep Brabant. 2014-04-24. Retrieved 2014-06-21.
  24. ^ "Solar-powered 'smart' roads could zap snow, ice". Retrieved 2022-12-02.
  25. ^ Media, Provectus (2016-06-17). "Solar Powered Roads: The Future, or Just Hype?". Zero To 60 Times. Retrieved 2022-12-02.
  26. ^ Ryan, Dylan. "Solar panels replaced tarmac on a road -- here are the results". The Conversation. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  27. ^ "Solar Road Systems from ICAX clears ice from Toddington roads for Highways Agency using under road heating | TRL report heated roads". Retrieved 2022-12-02.

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