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Arup research explores urban infrastructure design in 2050

Smart Buildings

Arup research explores urban infrastructure design in 2050

The report projects a future where highways will be made from self-healing, glow-in-the-dark materials and will be governed by sophisticated technologies.


By BD+C Staff | December 3, 2014

Global engineering and design firm Arup recently released a report that predicts the future of highways based on today’s technological advancements and trends up to 2050.

The report, Future of Highways, projects a future where highways “will be made from self-healing, glow-in-the-dark materials and will be governed by sophisticated technologies that communicate with cars, road infrastructure, and GPS systems.”

Urbanization is a main theme in the report, as research shows up to 75% of the global population will be city dwellers by 2050. The Future of Highways report considers why this rise in the urban population means we will need to substantially increase the capacity for individual mobility and freight transport. 

The report also considers how climate change, resource depletion, and changes in human behavior will shape our roads in the future.

Here are some highlights of what Arup thinks a city 36 years from now will be capable of having:

  • Solar roadways for power generation
  • Monitoring drones for predictive maintenance
  • Driverless vehicles
  • Self-healing road surfaces
  • Bioluminescent trees for natural street lighting
  • Dedicated cycle and pedestrian lanes

Curious to know more? The full report, complete with vivid imagery and infographics, can be downloaded here

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