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CDOT Launches Smart Pavement Pilot Program

The smart pavement precast concrete slabs are embedded with sensors that allow the pavement to alert authorities if a vehicle has left the road.

A half-mile stretch of U.S. 285 north of Fairplay, Colorado, will be the site of a Colorado Department of Transportation pilot program that employs a new “smart pavement” technology developed by Kansas City, Missouri-based Integrated Roadways.

WSP USA is contributing to the design of the new road technology, which will have sensors that can tell where cars are, what direction they are going and how fast. It has possibilities for autonomous vehicle technology and supporting local infrastructure.

The area of the road where the technology is being installed has a reverse curve at the end of a long straightaway where cars frequently run off the road.

“This is an exciting opportunity to introduce a game-changing highway technology that will improve the safety of motorists in Colorado,” WSP USA Client Relations Manager Tim Harris said. “CDOT is very interested in using new technologies, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with them on this implementation.”

Smart Pavement, as the product is branded, is made of precast concrete pavement slabs embedded with upgradable technology. The pavement technology lasts four times as long as traditional asphalt and is 85% less costly.

The sensors allow the pavement to alert authorities if a vehicle has left the road. Future versions will incorporate wireless services to communicate real-time vehicle position information directly to vehicles.

“Smart Pavement is the next generation in road construction,” Integrated Roadways founder Tim Sylvester said. “By treating the roadway as a series of concrete sensor pads connected to a digital network, we can improve safety, collect real-time traffic data, record daily, seasonal and annual traffic patterns and support the deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles, among other things.”

Because the roadway can generate revenue through its data and connectivity services, it has the potential to use private investments to improve public infrastructure without implementing tolls, Sylvester said.