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Is it time to prod your roadways with a stick?

We’re thrilled to have Bob McQueen, from Bob McQueen & Associates as a visitor blogger on our channel. Bob is an internationally acknowledged skilled in sensible mobility and Clever Transport Techniques. He has over 40 years of expertise in serving to private and non-private sector shoppers to get the very best outcomes from superior transport know-how, working within the USA, Europe, Center East and Asia Pacific areas. Purchasers embody main know-how firms reminiscent of LG, Samsung, Rockwell Collins and Egis Transportation Techniques.

That is the primary in a quick sequence of blogs addressing the topics: safer, smarter, and greener roadways. On this weblog, I deal with “smarter”. We’ll check out the definition and talk about a number of features of sensible roadways.


How are you aware in case your roadway is wise?

It’s fairly easy, prod it with a stick and see what occurs! Whereas it is a humorous method, there’s an underlying message.

If the roadway is wise, it is going to detect the prod and react appropriately. This suggests that the roadway has each sensing capabilities and intelligence. In fact, the roadway doesn’t truly make the choice itself, the sensing information must be despatched again to the “mind” or the visitors administration middle the place an applicable response could be outlined. This provides an preliminary understanding of what a wise roadway is: sensors, high-speed telecommunications, decision-making, and command-and-control. However it’s extra than simply know-how components.


As we apply know-how components, the roadway evolves from a passive useful resource into an interactive element of a framework that features roadway, car, driver, and administration methods. It takes its place as a significant, lively a part of a scientific method to visitors and mobility administration. That is the primary a part of how I outline “sensible roadways” – the power to be interactive.

Disproportionate influence

The following half pertains to the results that sensible roadways manifest. The apparent results are improved security, elevated effectivity, enhanced person expertise, minimized environmental results, and improved fairness. A much less apparent and but inherent high quality of the operational applied sciences utilized in sensible roadways is what we’d name the “Solar Tzu” impact. Normal Tzu was a well-known Chinese language common who lived round 500 BC. His e-book on army technique, The Artwork of Battle, has been influencing army and strategic considering ever since. In his e-book he stated, “small forces can obtain nice issues.”

Once you apply a small power on the proper time, wonderful results can occur. The small power on this case is superior transport know-how within the type of Operational Know-how or sharp finish Data Know-how designed to assist actual time visitors administration.

Annual spending in Europe on superior transport know-how is about 5% of what’s spent on asphalt, concrete, and metal. But the outcomes considerably affect the efficiency of the traditional infrastructure. It’s time to apply extra “small power” to get greater outcomes. Political targets have been set with respect to greenhouse gases and highway visitors fatality reductions. These targets should not going to be attained with simply asphalt, concrete, or metal. We have to add new infrastructure in type of operational know-how, generally known as a community.

Today, once we check with roadway infrastructure, we are literally speaking about two various things working in concord, as a single system – the roadway infrastructure and the operational know-how infrastructure. The small, new forces of operational know-how will turn out to be important to the profitable operation of our transport community.

Exhibiting the indicators of age

This brings us to a different cause why the time is ripe for motion. A lot of the present operational know-how community for visitors is growing old. Not simply by way of {hardware} and software program, however by way of outdated architectures for connectivity and cybersecurity. Are you able to depend on it or is your community dwelling on borrowed time? Being sensible can be about being present.

The essence of sensible roadways

So, in case your roadway is wise then it is going to react appropriately once you prod it with a stick. It’s going to have the sensing capabilities to detect threats and alternatives. It’s going to additionally ship the intelligence required to find out the suitable response and timing of that response. Sensible additionally contains the aptitude of the roadway to transcend passive right into a proactive, interactive element in an even bigger system. And eventually, sensible embodies an inherent potential to do extra with much less. Nevertheless, probably the most important a part of being sensible lies in what you do with it. It’s now time for us to harness the total energy of sensible roadways to assist us to realize each our greenhouse fuel and security targets.

So, ask your self this: Are your roadways and intersections sensible sufficient for the highway forward? Is it time to think about an improve to operational know-how and infrastructure? Are you on the right track to attain future security and greenhouse fuel targets?


Signal as much as be taught extra about smarter, greener, and safer roadways.



[1] Street Transport Efficiency in Europe, European Fee, working papers produced by The Directorate Normal for Regional and City Mobility, WP 01/2019.

[2] Nick Harris, Chief Govt, Nationwide Highways Company England, Sensible motorways inventory take, Second yr progress report 2022.


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