Keyword Site Search

The expressway of the future will be interactive. Automobiles will be monitored using the global positioning system and information about road conditions will be transmitted directly to the car's computer making subtle adjustments to the transmission, suspension, and tire inflation.

Intelligent roads, auto-responsive pavements, floating bridges, underwater parking garages, immersed tube tunnels, underground expressways and a host of other infrastructure innovations are not the kind of far-fetched "think tank" concepts that we read about in Popular Mechanics but never see in the real world. In each case these new technologies are in place at this very moment!

With regard to the future of roads and streets there are a number of key areas where we will see dramatic innovation.

Technology transfer - This rapidly growing discipline involves improvement in research and implementation of research. It involves the transfer of innovations from advanced countries such as Canada, the U.S. and Japan to developing countries. It also involves certain aspects of education of designers, engineers and the public with regard to roads and the importance of roads to the economy.

Human factors - Human factors include such elements as roadway illumination, signs and signage, the study of driver fatigue and dealing with the problem of aggressive or high-risk drivers. {Such as cars that won't start if you're under the influence} Intelligent transportation systems - Intelligent transportation systems are a fascinating field, which involves computerized traffic control, surveillance, remote-controlled toll roads and automated debiting applications. In San Diego the city has equipped almost a half million vehicles with intelligent vehicle registration tags that allow these vehicles to be serviced by traffic probes that report on current travel times throughout the metropolitan area. A new system now in place for border crossing allows Cox Communications to process border crossing paperwork while they are in motion. The border crossing data is collected on-the-fly so trucks don't have to lineup at agricultural or immigration checkpoints.

Pavements and surfacing - Innovations in the field of pavement research include improvements in skid resistance, rideability, noise abatement, new techniques for rehabilitation and repair, and developments in strategic economic pavement management. Pavement research also holds great promise with regard to environmental benefits such as the use of industrial waste in pavement materials.

The U.S. highway system is one of the greatest engineering feats in the history of the world. Its continued expansion and the need to accomodate a continually growing American population has been assisted by light weight, high performance concrete.

Safety - Improvements in road safety will include better road design using computer modeling, flexible road fixtures to reduce damage in injury upon accidental impact, improved road markings and lighting, and improved monitoring and removal of snow and ice. These models enable the evaluation of driver behavior and optimal roadway conditions.
Transportation and planning for urban and rural transit - Increased investment and development in urban and rural transit such as multi-modal bus and light rail systems will enable reduced traffic requirements for roads.

Urban traffic management - Enhancements in urban traffic management techniques will improve pedestrian safety and reduce the incidence of intersection accidents. When you use a major highway you will be billed automatically, [every time you use it] and your driving habits will be monitored. If you drive recklessly you will be fined by the security computer and denied access the next time you try the use the road. [Security will also notify your insurance company, which will immediately raise your rates] What does all this mean for the profession of landscape architecture?

There is a tremendous amount of technology transfer occurring in this field.  It will have to be integrated and understood and, at some point, reflected and translated in the design of roads, streets and pavements.  It represents an exciting and challenging field of activity for the profession. The "Expressway to the Future" will be constructed by computerized robotic equipment, using segmental block pavers, fabricated with recycled materials and industrial by-products.  Multi-disciplinary teams will design these roads and streets, with the chief landscape architect running the show. The end result will be increased recognition of the vital importance of landscape architecture in the new millennium.

Automated billing on toll roads has reduced the custodial cost of running many new roads, while cameras and road sensors punish violators by recording license plate numbers and issuing citations.

Search Site by Story Keywords

Related Stories

June 18, 2019, 7:03 am PDT

Website problems, report a bug.
Copyright © 2019 Landscape Communications Inc.
Privacy Policy