When it comes to taking the road to the future, Peter Kozinski with the Colorado Department of Transportation says it will be less about building roads and more about making them smarter.
“The future is in the technology,” Kozinski said.
Take Interstate 70. It is decades old, full of congestion and about to become the first place in the country to have cars talking to other cars,
“We will see dramatic increases, efficacy, and travel reliability along our corridors once cars start talking to each other,” Kozinski said.
Using a connected transportation technology called RoadX, C-DOT is working with Panasonic to use sensors both in the road and in cars to let vehicles talk to each other.
“About what’s up ahead, what’s behind, what’s happening around the sides of me,” Kozinski said.
One car will be able to send another car information about sun glare, low visibility, an accident or bad weather so the driver can make adjustments.
“We can tell if someone hits the brakes hard if something is making them slowdown,” Kozinski said “That information can be shared with everyone and make the corridor a much safer drive.”
That alone is expected to reduce accidents as much as 80 percent.
“Upwards of 94 percent of accidents out there are the result of human error,” Kozinski said.
Mix that technology with self-driving cars and C-DOT says they can not only reduce accidents and congestion, but also add a lane of traffic volume without having to actually build a lane on the interstate.
“We believe we can double—almost triple the amount of capacity on our existing roadways with this technology,” Kozinski said.
Getting the system up and running will cost about 8 million dollars, but that’s a fraction of what it would cost to build a road or add a lane.
Many cars already have the necessary sensors through built in navigation system that can send and receive information.