The world is rapidly changing and technology has changed every aspect of our lives from the media and information to the food we eat. Cars have changed too and the roads we drive on, and even the landscape of our cities. Our population is growing and also becoming increasingly urbanized which means that there will be even more cars on our roads and road management authorities will have to try to counteract the problems that go with a growing population, such as traffic delays, accident management, and pollution.
How will climate change, and new technology affect our future roads? An independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists called Arup came up with some interesting ideas in a think-tank around how our roads could change in the future. According to this study, road designers will have to focus on improving and expanding infrastructure to accommodate the growing number of cars on the roads.
South African roads, going places or a dead end?
South Africa has a good road system, according to a government publication on intergovernmental finances, but effective road management will require increased investment in transport infrastructure to address inequalities that are left over from the Apartheid system.
Roads and transport are very important for upliftment, because they are necessary for access to social services and employment. Could regulating the taxi industry and focusing on aspects like improving accident management improve public transport? Should government focus on improving existing bus systems? Electric buses are being considered as a cheaper and more eco-friendly solution to the public transport challenge. Some road designers have also put forward the idea of a solar roadway. Replacing concrete or asphalt with solar cells and covering it with a layer of glass to collect solar energy, could this be an option for South Africa with our abundant sunshine?
Road management is changing as people become more eco-friendly, and Avis Fleet on board with these changes with their green fleet solution (http://www.avisfleet.co.za/solutions/green-fleet/). Globally, as people become increasingly conscious of environmental issues, there is a move towards eco-friendly options for transport – public transport, sharing cars, and dedicated bike and walking lanes. Will more sustainable sources of fuel become more common? Liquified natural gas, hydrogen, and algae could be explored as alternatives to current petroleum-based fuels, and electric or combustion engines might become the norm.
Using plastic waste as an alternative to build roads
Road maintenance is another challenge that South Africans face, and rehabilitating roads that haven’t been maintained adds to the cost, according to government, road maintenance was one of the issues of road management examined by the Arum think-tank that could benefit many road users. One of the innovative ideas put forward as a solution is to take discarded plastic and use it as an alternative for bitumen in road surfaces. This would mean taking a non-recyclable waste product to build roads that are stronger and cheaper to build.
Check out our Fleet Solutions for more information on how Avis Fleet can take you forward, using technology to make fleet management more efficient and easier.