‘Smart roads’ or ‘Smart highways’ gaining ground in the developed world essentially use a suite of technologies that are intended to be both interactive and largely self-powering.
The concept holds tremendous potential for India as it carries almost 80 per cent of the country’s passenger traffic and around 65 per cent of its freight.
Smart systems can use digital sensors to acquire data pertaining to landslides, accidents, traffic jams and weather conditions, activating warning systems in time and enabling active LED displays on roads and highways.
The Eastern Peripheral Expressway is India’s first smart highway bolstered with highway traffic management systems (HTMS) and video detection systems (VIDS).
This helps to relay the information collected to a central server in the control room resulting in real-time incident management.
The Incident Management Control Centre is integral in maintaining an overall safe roadway.
Running 24/7, it monitors traffic with an array of intelligent transport systems and is also able to successfully deploy ground recovery crew to assist motorists in distress.
More such initiatives need to be implemented across all our highways.
The world is slowly but steadily transitioning to a future in which self-driving automobiles will define the traffic landscape.
Smart Highways/Roads promise to be the third link to the chain in the fight against congestion and carbon emissions, helping to ease the flow of traffic, reduce accidents and in some instances, serve as viable sources of renewable energy in their own right.
Smart highways are a crucial link in improving road transportation landscape in the country.