States are testing new technologies to make their roads safer and more efficient. Some of the technologies can talk with “smart” vehicles, and some target the drivers directly with communications about the weather or accidents. The changes are happening fast, and you might see them in your neighborhood soon. Paul Page writes at The Wall Street Journal:
“This transition is happening a lot quicker than we anticipated,” says Ronique Day, a government transportation analyst in Virginia, one of several states studying ways for roads and cars to communicate.
State transit authorities say they may make up some ground if the incoming administration of Donald Trump fulfills promises to increase infrastructure spending. With many states struggling to cover basic highway maintenance, planners say billions of federal dollars likely will be needed to wire the nation’s more than 4 million miles of paved roads and 250,000 intersections.
“The budgets are not getting bigger and all this new technology is going to come at a cost,” said Myra Blanco, director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s Center for Policy and Outreach, which is researching how the next generation of roads and cars interact on a 2.2-mile test road in the southwestern Virginia town of Blacksburg.
Ohio last month said it would spend $15 million to install smart-road technology along 35 miles of Route 33, a state road from outside Columbus to the state’s Transportation Research Center in East Liberty.
“The innovators will be the ones that work this out,” says Bryan Thomas, a spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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