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Brief Published: 22 Jul 2015

Smart Plastic Roads


Dutch construction company VolkerWessels has designed a road made from recycled plastics that could transform the way we travel.

VolkerWessels says the PlasticRoad concept could pave the way for innovations such as power-generating roads, heated surfaces to prevent snow build-up, and quieter traffic noise. The road is virtually maintenance-free, say the designers, and can be constructed in a fraction of the time of conventional tarmac or asphalt, thanks to prefabrication.

The design is hollow beneath the road surface, making it easy to lay and access pipes and cables. This could be particularly useful for embedding sensors and other features to make our roadways smarter, complementing advances such as driverless cars.

VolkerWessels is currently looking for partners to realise PlasticRoad – the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands has already expressed an interest in testing it.

For more transport innovations, see our reporting from FT Future of the Car Summit 2015 and Urban Transport Revs Up.