Healing concrete could end potholes

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Published: Tuesday 2nd December 2014 by The News Editor

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Potholes on the roads could be a thing of the past if a futuristic plan to produce self-healing concrete comes to fruition.

The concrete would produce bacteria to fill the cracks when the concrete gets damaged.

It is one of the innovative schemes outlined in a report on the future of highways by engineering company Arup.

The report looks at possible trends up to 2050 and also envisages the r eplacement of conventional road surfaces with solar panels that could charge electric vehicles and melt snow.

Temperature-sensitive paint on the roads could generate giant snowflake-shaped warnings to indicate a drop in temperature and icy conditions.

Arup predicts that patterns of ownership will change in the coming years, with commuters more likely to purchase access to a vehicle rather than the vehicle itself.

The numbers cycling and walking are likely to increase and electric cars could become commonplace, with developments in science dramatically improving performance.

Fully automated navigation systems could enable roads to be populated by driverless cars which could change the design and operation of highways, and provide safety and environmental benefits.

The report also suggests that improved communications will make cars more “intelligent” and “self-aware” of traffic levels, speed, weather and potential safety hazards.

Arup’s global highways business leader Tony Marshall said: “While temperature-sensitive paint and solar surfaces may seem far-fetched, the innovations envisioned in this report are already being tested and piloted around the world.

“They will change the way that we approach mobility and freight transport and will provide safer, more reliable and more environmentally friendly highway infrastructure for generations to come.”

He went on: “Intelligent traffic and control systems will make our roads safer and more sustainable.”

British Cycling’s campaigns manager Martin Key said: “More than three quarters of British Cycling members say that unsafe road surfaces are the top hazard that they encounter on the road.

“People on bikes need a much higher standard of road surface to keep them safe, particularly on high traffic routes. Self-healing concrete is an interesting concept. However, any new initiatives must ensure that roads are more routinely maintained and account for the needs of all road users.”

Published: Tuesday 2nd December 2014 by The News Editor

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