Smart highways and smart roads are terms for a number of different proposals to incorporate technologies into roads for generating solar energy, for improving the operation of autonomous cars, for lighting, and for monitoring the condition of roads.
One item that should be added to roads is photovoltaic pavement. This is a form of pavement that generates electricity by collecting solar power with photovoltaics. A variant concept of a "solar road" can be installed on Ontario highways that uses asphalt and tarmac to absorb the sun’s rays and heat water for use in domestic heating.
Highway medians can also be covered by solar panels with a 1-km section of road can provide enough power for the town's streetlights.
The main purpose of solar roadways is to replace asphalt roads with Solar Panels, which generate energy through the sun that can be used by local houses or businesses that are connected to the system from either the house’s driveway or the businesses parking lot. The panels will also increase the number of charging stations for electric cars if that station is connected to the solar roadway. Each panel is roughly 12’ by 12’ of interlocking panels that have their own LED lights that will be used as the road lines, and can be used to spell out words like “Reduce Speed” or “Traffic Ahead” to help the flow of traffic.
The layers are as follows
1. The Road Surface Layer - The Road Layer is the High Strength layer that has the photovoltaic cells which attracts the sun’s rays, it has traction so vehicles don’t slide of the road, and it’s waterproof to protect the layers below.
2. The Electronic Layer - The Electronic Layers contain a mini microprocessor board that helps control the heating element of the panels, this technology can help melt the snow that lands on the panels so that hazardous road conditions will no longer be an issue in the more northern regions. This layer can sense how much weight is on the panels and can control the heating element to melt the snow.
3. The Base Plate Layer - The Base Plate Layer is the layer that collects the energy from the sun and distributes the power to the homes or businesses that are connected to the solar roadways. This will also be used to transfer the energy to cars as they drive over the strip to recharge the battery.
Some panels can heat the road and keep snow and ice from accumulating. They can also feature LED diodes that will increase the visibility of road lines. The LEDs would also double in helping prevent paint from inhibiting solar power generation.
We can also incorporate photo-luminescent paint for road markings, which absorb light during the day then glow for up to 10 hours.