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2030 is almost tomorrow! What can we expect from our roads in just over ten years’ time? Will we have safer, greener, even energy-generating roads? Experts at Egis have anticipated several possible scenarios.
The road of the future is a wide-ranging debate which changes form and substance over time as needs evolve and successive innovations emerge. However, we can easily imagine that, in the very near future, roads will incorporate a lot of technology deployed for the benefit of the user (means of communication with vehicles, sensors in the road surface, connected terminals, interactive lane management, etc.) and contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Whilst it will still take up a significant amount of space, the road of 2030 will no longer be seen as an individual mobility mode, but rather as a space which can accommodate other modes of transport: the road is also the street, which will be dynamically shared according to demand and its different uses (buses, trams, bikes, pedestrians, etc.).
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In 2030 our roads will be safer because they will be easier to understand (more intuitive): on new roads and on part of the renovated network, drivers will adapt their speeds and adjust their behaviour intuitively. To do so they will be helped by driver assistance systems, functioning according to network equipment grade and traffic density. In “autonomous” mode, their journeys will be monitored on their navigation systems and a detailed mapping tool or even a digital road avatar to make sure that their vehicles’ movements remain within safety norms. In “connected” mode, communications with infrastructure and other vehicles will make an added contribution and help to anticipate the “bad moves” of other vehicles. Today, connected terminals already provide a foretaste of what driving will be like tomorrow.
This new road, referred to as 5th generation in France and Forever Road on a European level, will naturally protect the environment from the very outset, and will have a low carbon impact throughout its life cycle, by consuming less energy and using sustainable materials (Variways). Roads will even be proactive in reducing emissions when people use them: photovoltaic surfaces, materials and concrete which absorb pollutants, self-cleaning geotextile netting in drainage networks, etc. On major intercity roads, certain sections of roads will be fitted with induction power supply zones to charge electric vehicles as they drive.
Egis is already on track to forecast the roads of tomorrow and is cooperating with industrial and institutional partners such as IFSTTAR (French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks) on this topic. Specifically, our teams have launched a project called DRI 5 (Data Road Interactive 5th generation) whose aim is to use driving data to create new services which might be useful to various road stakeholders (designers, builders, operators) from design to operation.
“In 2030 roads will have become industrial objects. They will not yet be automated but driving assistance systems will have substantially penetrated the market. They will be safer, easier to use and more environmentally friendly.”