The objective of the "SMART Connected Community: Live Labs" project, a program led by the Buckinghamshire County Council, is to introduce smart technology in road infrastructure. The total investment, provided by the UK's Department for Transport is about $29.4 million and will run until Spring 2021.
The University of Lancaster has received a $5.77 million fund to design, produce and test road surfaces capable of generating energy from the passing vehicles. The produced energy will be stored to batteries and will be used to power road signs, traffic signals and street lamps. Moreover, sensors capable of detecting air pollution and road deficiencies will be installed and will be powered by the stored energy.
In particular, custom-made systems capable of harvesting energy will be developed and implemented on roads located in Aylesbury, a town in central England. The optimum number and the location of the designed devices will be investigated via computer simulations.
The new technological features will also collect information concerning the velocity and the type of passing vehicles as well as additional data about traffic flows.
Mohamed Saafi, Professor and Chair in Structural Integrity and Materials at Lancaster University who is leading the 2-year project, said that the attempt is of high importance as it will completely revolutionize current road infrastructure. “This is a very exciting project where we will develop novel smart road surfaces that harvest energy to power sensors that can monitor both the structural integrity of road surfaces and traffic flows – providing valuable new data streams that will help to significantly improve the efficiency of highways management and maintenance. We see these next generation energy harvesting road surfaces as an important part of future smart cities,” Prof. Saafi, stated.
ADEPT SMART Places Live Labs involves the development of 8 individual, innovative projects aiming to create smart solutions in materials, mobility, energy production and communications in road networks.
Source: Lancaster University