If I told you there’s something all around us that, if connected, could significantly help reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, reduce pollution on a massive scale, reduce the amount of time we spend in our cars, make entire cities smarter and contribute to an overall improvement of peoples’ physical and mental health all at the same time, would you ask why we’re not already doing everything we can to harness its potential?
There are approximately 3.9 million miles of road in the US today, and while there are large stretches of road that don’t suffer from constant traffic, connecting high-traffic, urban roads to the IoE could accomplish all of the above. While we’re connecting roads, we can coat the surface with photosensitive material in the tar/asphalt mixture that would use sunlight to produce energy to power streetlights and much more!
With connected roads, traffic lights can dynamically shift their sequences to allow for an optimal flow of traffic, while cars can truly drive autonomously making commutes more like riding a train and roads safer for pedestrians, cyclists and passengers alike.
The really crazy thing about this idea is most of the pieces to this puzzle exist – they just need someone to assemble them. Cars are connected, paintable, photosensitive materials exist in beta form, internet connections are almost everywhere and there’s even government funding allocated to green energy projects that could help subsidize the cost of an endeavor like this. The best part about this kind of project is it has the capacity to put jobs, both manufacturing and labor/construction back into local municipalities that would obviously greatly benefit both local and national economies.
While the cost to build a city with smart streets would initially be high, over time the benefits would absolutely outweigh the costs, and we’d be investing in our future and solving a handful of big problems all at the same time.
Why do you think these dots haven’t been connected yet? Is it silly excuses, a lack of the required elements, conflict of interest or simple oversight? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!