«Smart» roads: technologies and innovations in construction


The «smart» technological environment covers all spheres of human life: personal, social and public life, doing business, industrial work and environmental protection. Naturally, innovative technologies began to be used in the construction of transport routes.

The construction of «smart» roads allows us to solve two main transport problems – to increase capacity and improve traffic safety. With the help of special sensors, it is possible to control the speed of cars and improve the interaction between road users.

In the construction of roads, various technologies are used to automate production processes. Despite the obvious advantages, innovations require a developed infrastructure to combine «smart» systems into one.

LLC «LMA», part of the LMS Group of Companies, is implementing a large-scale construction project «Eastern Exit» from Ufa to the federal highway M-5 Ural. The implementation of the project for the construction of a regional highway of the Republic of Bashkortostan includes three large-scale stages. The first stage is a road tunnel, which includes two tunnels 1.2 km long, with two lanes in each. The width of the road will be 8.5 m x 2. The second stage is a steel bridge over the Ufa River with a length of 470 m and an overpass with a length of 2,200 m, with two two-lane platforms. The width of the roadway will be 27.7 m. The third stage is a 12 km long highway with four lanes. The category of the road is IB (express). The width of the road is 26 m .

Modern modeling technology in road construction

3D modeling technology was created not so long ago, and it allowed to optimize and automate the processes of laying the roadway. For the system to work, 3D surface files are used, which are stored in the computer's memory. As a result, the machine laying the coating itself determines its position, the start time of laying, the thickness of the coating layer and the direction of movement. In a later version of the software, the final condition of the roadway is also evaluated.

Quality control of road surface materials

To create a strong and durable road surface, high-quality road mixes are required. Special sensors installed in concrete mixers, trucks and other vehicles monitor how the composition and properties of concrete mixtures meet the required parameters.

Laser motion control systems

There are not very many automatic traffic control systems with «smart» markings and road signs yet because of their high cost. The installation of automated systems requires a complete modernization of existing roads and related infrastructure, which is very expensive.

Carnegie Mellon University specialists have proposed a laser navigation system that does not require retrofitting of highways and can work effectively even on ordinary roads. The principle of operation is based on the analysis of the reflected signal. The system includes a photodetector, a laser emitter and a rangefinder. The laser scanner finds the object, is reflected, and then the photodetectors analyze the resulting image. The system analyzes even minor changes in the examined object. It allows you to track changes in the trajectory of the movement of cars, the volume and intensity of traffic, availability of parking spaces, determine the type of passing vehicle, etc.

Innovative road surface

Today in many countries there are «smart» roads that glow in the dark and notify drivers of changes in weather conditions. The most interesting innovative technologies in the road surface:

  • Road lighting with solar panels. Batteries are built into the roadbed and illuminate the road in the dark. The energy received is enough not only to illuminate the road, but also the surrounding area.
  • Lighting of the road with a luminous backlight. The system includes fluorescent or LED marking of the roadway.
  • Innovative road surface. For the safety of car traffic, asphalt has been created with the properties to completely remove water from the road surface during rain.

Experimental laboratories of roads

Any innovations in road construction require large financial investments, and, of course, they cannot be applied without sufficient economic justification of their benefits. The construction of a «smart» highway is initially very costly, as is its subsequent operation, so it is important that the benefits are substantial.

It is possible to determine the economic efficiency of an innovative road only in the process of practical use. In Alabama, an experimental section of the road was built with a length of only 3.5 km. All known technologies of road construction, traffic control systems, lighting, navigation, etc. are being tested here. There are systems installed on the road section that can simulate various climatic and meteorological conditions, so the results can be applied all over the world.

Construction technologies and equipment of modern roads are being improved every year. Their widespread use is still hampered by the high cost and imperfection of the regulatory framework. But it won't be many years before most of the roads in the world can be called smart without exaggeration.

Confirming the reputation of a reliable general contractor, LMS qualitatively and on time fulfills its obligations to customers who trust us to implement their projects again.

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