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Road

— Automotive

Compact laser system scans road surfaces at 100 km/h

By - May 1, 2013 2 Pictures
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques have come up with a car-mounted laser scanner the size of a shoe box, that can survey the contours of road surfaces at speeds of up to 100 km/h (62 mph). The system detects potholes and other road damage in need of repair. According to the Institute, the Pavement Profile Scanner (or PPS) has surveyed 15,000 km of road since mid-2012, in which time it has proven cheaper, faster and more accurate than existing systems which require hefty attachments to the carrier vehicle. Read More
— Environment

The streets of Vancouver are paved with ... recycled plastic

By - November 30, 2012 4 Pictures
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit's latest Global Liveability Report, the beautiful city of Vancouver in Canada is a pretty decent place to live, ranking third in the world. Its environmental footprint is currently unsustainable, though, prompting officials to hatch an ambitious plan to have Vancouver crowned the greenest city in the world by 2020. Helping things along nicely is a new warm mix paving process that makes use of the kind of waste plastic placed in blue household recycling boxes by conscientious citizens, reducing greenhouse gases and improving air quality along the way. Read More
— Automotive

"Smart Highways" will glow in the dark, plus a lot more

By - November 6, 2012 6 Pictures
If you've ever wished that roads would do something instead of just lying there, a pair of Dutch design firms have the answer. Studio Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure are developing what they call a “Smart Highway.” It’s a roadway that incorporates a suite of interactive technologies that adapt to traffic conditions and provide motorists with valuable feedback. Read More
— Automotive

Automated system detects and fills cracks in asphalt roads

By - June 23, 2012 2 Pictures
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but when it comes to road maintenance, an ounce of prevention is worth several tons of tarmac. A tiny crack in the asphalt may not seem like much, but once it lets in rain and frost, it’s a ticket to potholes and a very expensive resurfacing. The problem is that crack repair is time consuming and labor intensive, so the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has come up with an automatic pavement crack detection and repair system that operates at comparable speeds to conventional methods, but with fewer people and less exposure to hazardous fumes. Read More
— Bicycles

The Hornster bicycle has a horn that's louder than a Concorde

By - May 8, 2012 3 Pictures
It’s no secret that cyclists are at a disadvantage when sharing the roads with motorized vehicles – not only do bikes offer less in the way of protection and speed than cars, but drivers often don’t even notice that they’re there. The Hornster, a bicycle featuring what is claimed to be the world’s loudest bicycle horn, was designed to bring attention to that fact. Read More
— Mobile Technology

iPavement embeds WiFi hotspots in the street

By - April 26, 2012 2 Pictures
It seems that a lot of people have been talking about putting things in the road lately. Just within the past few years, we’ve heard about asphalt-embedded parking spot locators, power strips and coils, piezoelectric generators, and heat-harvesting water pipes. Now, a Spanish tech company has developed yet another piece of “street technology,” known as iPavement – sidewalk paving stones that double as WiFi hotspots. Read More
— Good Thinking

Students design goop-filled bags to fill potholes

By - April 13, 2012 1 Picture
Have you ever mixed corn starch with water? If you have, you probably noticed how it oozed like a liquid when flowing across a surface, yet hardened like a solid if you suddenly struck it. That’s because the corn starch/water mixture is what’s known as a non-Newtonian fluid – the particles it’s composed of slide past one another easily when moving slowly, but jam against each other when forced to move quickly. Recently, a group of students from Cleveland’s Case Western University encased such a fluid within sturdy bags, to create a simple product that could be used to temporarily fill potholes in roads. Read More
— Urban Transport

Python 5000 patches potholes in minutes

By - March 24, 2012 3 Pictures
Nobody likes potholes, but it often seems that they’re one of those hardships we just have to put up with until they get almost impassable ... after all, it’s a big deal to send out a road crew who will have to block one or two lanes of traffic for half an hour or more, while they risk being struck by inattentive drivers. Apparently, however, pothole-filling needn’t be such an involved process. Cities now have the option of using the Python 5000, which is a vehicle that is operated by one person from inside its cab, and that can patch a two-foot (0.6-meter) pothole in about two minutes. Read More
— Urban Transport

'Superstreet' concept shows promise in real-world test

By - January 12, 2011 2 Pictures
No left turn. That is the simple concept behind the Superstreet traffic design which promises significantly faster travel times, plus a drastic reduction in auto-collisions and injuries. These superstreets are ground level streets – not raised freeways or highways – that allow for greater volume of thru-traffic by re-routing traffic from side streets that would normally be trying to get across the main road. While the idea has been around in urban transport modeling textbooks for over 20 years, researchers from the North Carolina State University have been the first to test the concept in the real world and the results are promising. Read More
— Environment

'Plastisoil' could mean cleaner rivers and less plastic waste

By - November 21, 2010 2 Pictures
A new cement-like material that could be used to form sidewalks, bike and jogging paths, driveways and parking lots, may be able to lessen two environmental problems, namely plastic waste and polluted rainwater runoff. The substance is called Plastisoil, and it was developed by Naji Khoury, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Temple University in Philadelphia. In order to make Plastisoil, discarded polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles are pulverized and mixed with soil, and then that mixture is blended with a coarse aggregate and heated. The result is a hard yet non-watertight substance, similar to pervious concrete or porous asphalt. Read More
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