American roads remain more dangerous than in many other highly developed countries. Despite the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reporting a three month reduction in fatalities so far in 2023, it remains that driving in America is a disproportionately risky endeavor. Much of this is down to the sheer volumes of vehicles on the road and, as a result, the poor quality of the roads. For these roads to be part of a future in which driving on American roads is safe, innovation is required – and, as it happens, is incoming.
One of the key reasons behind road accidents is driver behavior. Legal professionals know this all too well; many cases come down to a discussion over the behavior of each driver, and semi-truck and 18-wheeler accident lawyer firms rely heavily on this data – just as the police do. Contributing to an improved picture here in the realm of road engineering will come from smart highways. Projects such as the Michigan CAV Corridor use sophisticated road engineering, smart algorithms and tech tools such as robotically controlled cameras to help moderate and control traffic.
The matter of maintenance
Underpinning smart highways is the road itself, of course – and America has a lot to do to bring its road quality up to scratch. According to scientists with Purdue University, the fast and effective construction of roads may soon be possible through ‘talking’ concrete. Sensors embedded during road construction will give absolute data on when the materials are set, allowing for quick and high quality builds.
The impact of sustainability
Sustainability is a key part of future roads. Reduced pollutants will improve cleanliness and use on the highways, and the use of sustainable materials will create longer-lasting and more easily repaired roads. According to sustainability innovators EpiProdux, subtle adaptations of current materials, including warm mix asphalt and low carbon concretes, are effective in promoting sustainability. Sustainability may seem like a side issue to safety, but having roads that are long-lasting is key in promoting driver trust in the roads and reducing inconsistency.
Focusing on a culture of innovation on roads will, cumulatively, have a big impact on the overall picture of road safety. America needs to do better, and a lot of that comes down to driver behavior. The roads on which they rely, however, can have a big influence on outcomes.