A key driver of optimism for bigger transportation development budgets in the coming years, is the infrastructure gap in global roadways to the tune of US$8 trillion for the cumulative period 2016-2040
Governments worldwide are focusing on building infrastructure which is key to economic growth and societal evolution. While governments in developed countries are investing predominantly for infrastructure replacement and upgrades, in developing countries investments are directed towards the creation of new infrastructure. The new budgetary focus on infrastructure comes at a time when infrastructure around the world is collapsing as a result of chronic underfunding of critical infrastructure. A key driver of optimism for bigger transportation development budgets in the coming years, is the infrastructure gap in global roadways to the tune of US$8 trillion for the cumulative period 2016-2040, which remains the highest as compared to US$2 trillion for rail, US$3 trillion for energy, US$1 trillion for water & US$2 trillion for telecom. Against this backdrop, world’s highways will rapidly evolve and develop supported by committed government support and initiatives aimed at connecting cities and countries for better economic growth and gains. The importance attached to transportation infrastructure development can be put into perspective by the fact that over 25% to 30% of World Bank funding support to developing countries is purposed for transportation infrastructure projects, higher than health, education and social services.
Governments across the world are investing in transportation infrastructure for a multitude of reasons which include well developed transportation infrastructure enables trade and reduces the cost of trading goods; enhances the volume of goods transported; enables expansion of retail trade; enables more equitable development of cities across the country; promotes imports and exports of goods; and increased productivity and economic growth. Governments are therefore building new roads and upgrading and modernizing existing roads within their countries to support urbanization; encourage upward mobility of the population; enhance access to employment, social, health and education services. A land of growth and diversity is a land where people and automobiles are allowed to traverse a diverse range of lands so that they can reach their destination without any hindrance. Well-connected cities, towns and villages within a country is the most basic prerequisite for economic growth.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for Smart Highway is projected to reach US$64.1 Billion by 2024, registering a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.8% over the analysis period. The United States represents the largest regional market for Smart Highway, accounting for an estimated 40.7% share of the global total. The market is projected to reach US$27.5 Billion by the close of the analysis period. The United States is forecast to emerge as the fastest growing regional market with a CAGR of 18.2% over the analysis period.
The advent of smart roads that rely on successful communication and interaction between the vehicles and smart infrastructure is expected to shape the safe mobility in the coming years. Smart road infrastructure employing Internet of Things (IoT), Intelligent Transport System (ITS), cloud computing and sensor-based road side units with capabilities to provide wireless access to automobiles plying on the roads, and gathering and distributing relevant real-time information would play a pivotal role in passenger safety. Smart roads provide real-time information to the vehicle drivers regarding the traffic conditions, icy surfaces, landslides, presence of human beings and wildlife, traffic congestion and parking availability, and ensure optimal routing as well as traffic efficiency. The use of sensors such as temperature sensors, accelerometers, anemometers, strain gauges, weigh-in-motion devices in the smart road applications also plays a crucial role in monitoring the transport infrastructures such as bridges, tunnels or viaducts as damages caused to the infrastructure due to natural disasters, corrosion or poor maintenance can prove fatal. In 2007, a bridge in Minneapolis collapsed resulting in death of 13 people and injuring 145. The bridge was re-built employing sensors in 2008 to gather data pertaining to corrosion and structural behavior.
Wireless sensors are utilized to detect and monitor road surfaces for any irregularities such as potholes in a road, and remote sensors to measure humidity, temperature, and various other similar parameters. Temperature sensors are also buried under the road surface to monitor and collect real-time information about the presence and appearance of ice plates. Additionally, several other real-time applications employing wireless sensors are being developed to effectively monitor water levels on viaducts, and preparing noise maps to monitor roads for traffic congestion. Smart pavements with smart slabs are also developed to significantly improve safety of motorists.
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