Smart Highways and Intelligent Transportation Systems

Tata Projects Limited, one of India’s fastest-growing infrastructure companies, recently inaugurated two ‘Smart Roads’ in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. Integrated with sensors, cameras, and communication technologies to garner data about traffic patterns, weather conditions, digital signage, and road surface conditions in real time, these smart roads are the future of robust traffic infrastructure. To curb and address the ongoing environmental issues caused by traffic congestion and urban population growth, many developed countries like the USA, Japan, and China have already embraced the concept of smart roads. 

As a developing country, India also gives an edge to its traditional infrastructure with smart roads and intelligent transportation systems (ITS). Smart road technology will provide more equitable mobility and transportation while helping city planners and the government address these challenges in real time. On top of that, the Internet Of Things (IoT) is making road transportation safer, more sustainable, and efficient with traffic management, environmental monitoring, pedestrian & vehicle safety, and smart and connected roadway corridors. 

On June 25, 2015, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the “100 Smart Cities Mission,” it dazzled every Indian to think of a safe, secure, and technology-driven future. From smart cities to smart TVs and smartphones, life has been facilitated with these amenities. Technology has also smartened the way we travel to upgrade the travel experience. According to experts, transportation is a paramount section of a smart city. Over the last two decades, the advancement and development of many technologies helped in the convergence of smart highways. According to the Smart Highway Market analysis, it is estimated that the market will be worth $55.80 billion in 2024 and is anticipated to increase to $137.98 billion by 2029. This growth is expected to occur at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 19.85% between 2024 and 2029. Smart highways or roads frequently utilise renewable energy sources like solar panels to create electricity for powering road infrastructure and equipment. These smart highways use power-packed sensors integrated with radars, cameras, and other equipment to collect data on traffic flow. 

Paving the way to a smarter future with smart roads, Asian countries like China and Japan are leading the forefront of intelligent road technology. Speaking of China, the country already has many intelligent road systems and is extending its network to more provinces. The first intelligent highway in China from Chengdu to Yibin is a 157 km long smart highway integrated with sensors, radar, and IoT devices to collect data. Japan is already on route to building smart highways across southern Asia by deploying highly advanced traffic control systems. 

As reported by the Times Of India, the Tamil Nadu highways department intends to transform seven main roads, totaling 103.5 kilometers, in Chennai into Smart Roads. This exhibits that the roads will feature to limit vehicle speed to 50kmph, apart from having walkways, cycle lanes, and parking ways. Experts have said that the roads will integrate WiFi poles, CCTV cameras, info kiosks, and other amenities that are required to deal with the traffic better. Cities like Chennai and Ujjain are paving their way to transform the roads, completely making the future astonishingly bright. 

With the integration of advanced technology in building smart highways, data can be sent to the cloud for long-term analysis, offering critical insights into reducing CO2 emissions and creating a sustainable environment. The smart highways and intelligent transportation Systems project guarantee numerous benefits, such as improved traffic and pedestrian safety, extended connectivity alongside transportation infrastructure, enhanced road layout and pavement conditions, and sustainable transportation. 

Studies have revealed that smart road technology is not a futuristic concept. Still, it has already been implemented worldwide, and many big cities like Chennai and Ujjain and international countries like China and Japan are experiencing the benefits today. Not to forget, India is also on the verge of paving its way to futuristic smart roads.

Leave a Reply