Smart pavements could be the way forward, designers say

Smart pavements could be the way forward, designers say
Engineering and design firm Arup has unveiled its vision for the cities of the future: a ‘smart’ pavement that uses LEDs to change its size, shape and function.

The pioneering FlexKerb system responds quickly and effectively to changing traffic needs by altering the use of roadside surfaces.

It does this through LEDs embedded in the street.

Red lights, for example, could open the kerbside to pedestrian use; green lights could allow cars to use the space; blue could signify a cycling lane; and purple lights could mark loading bays for delivery vehicles.

Up-to-the-minute traffic data from sensors and cameras would be fed into the system, allowing a road’s use to be recalibrated depending on demand.

And as well as potentially helping to cut emissions, Arup reckons that its FlexKerb system will create the backdrop needed for autonomous cars to function effectively.

READ MORE: New tech helps autonomous cars find their own parking space

Arup’s groundbreaking idea is one of five that have been shortlisted in a competition launched in January by the National Infrastructure Commission.

The Roads for the Future competition was launched to help prepare Britain for the advent of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

Entrants were asked to consider how road infrastructure, traffic control methods, speed and parking regulations should be altered to take account of CAVs.

The ideas produced will all feed into Britain’s preparations for the new age of connected transport and driverless cars.

Sir John Armitt, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, said: “As car manufacturers invest billions in driverless vehicles we must ensure our roads network can accommodate them.

“Whether from industry or academia, we want to see [entrants] submit their ideas.”

IN OTHER NEWS: New laws could ban driver distractions in autonomous cars

The designers of FlexKerb have now received £30,000 to conduct further work on their project and run a feasibility study modelled on a London high street.

And £50,000 of more funding could be available for further development if the idea proves successful. Watch this space.

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