U.K.'s A14 'smart road' could automatically control driving speeds

Will wireless connectivity on roads improve safety and reduce congestion? A pilot scheme will find out.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

The A14 is set to become the U.K's first Internet-connected road, as government officials try new ways to tackle congestion and road safety.

Sensors will be placed along the A14 between Felixstowe and Cambridge -- which is a distance of approximately 70 miles -- that will be able to transmit data on traffic, creating a "smart" road that can send messages to a driver's mobile phone alerting them to upcoming traffic.

This is an interesting concept since many modern traffic regulations are aimed at reducing driver distraction.

However, the sensor technology does have another facet -- it may be used in the future to automatically control the speed of vehicles.

The trial project is being run by BT and Cambridge technology specialists Neul and the Department of Transport. Telecoms watchdog Ofcom, which recently announced that the U.K. will road-test "white space" technology -- the sending of signals over the gaps between television channels rather than a mobile phone network -- said:

"Sensors in cars and on the roads monitor the build-up of congestions and wirelessly send this information to a central traffic control system, which automatically imposes variable speed limits that smooth the flow of traffic.

This system could also communicate directly with cars, directing them along diverted routes to avoid the congestion and even managing their speed."

Ofcom believes that if the pilot scheme is successful, the project could be rolled out nationwide during 2014.

Via: The Telegraph

Image credit: Telefonica

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards