The 2010 Urban Mobility Report, published by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University, paints the most accurate picture yet of traffic congestion in the 439 U.S. urban areas. Highlights from the research illustrate the effects of the nation's traffic problems:
Congestion costs continue to rise: measured in constant 2009 dollars, the cost of congestion has risen from $24 billion in 1982 to $115 billion in 2009.
The total amount of wasted fuel in 2009 topped 3.9 billion gallons - equal to 130 days of flow in the Alaska Pipeline.
Cost to the average commuter: $808 in 2009, compared to an inflation-adjusted $351 in 1982.
Yearly peak delay for the average commuter was 34 hours in 2009, up from 14 hours in 1982.
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So what's the solution?
Each Solar Road Panel contains a microprocessor that monitors and controls the panel, while communicating with neighboring panels and the vehicles traveling overhead. This means that you have a communications device every few feet in the road: every road, everywhere.
Imagine what you can do with this kind of control: the dashed road lines that you see on highways can "travel" alongside you at the designated speed limit. If your car is moving faster than the lines, you are going too fast. If your car is being passed by the line, you're driving too slowly. You can maintain the proper speed while never having to look at your speedometer.
The road can warn you of traffic congestion ahead and even recommend detours around it. You can enter a destination into your onboard GPS and an arrow can appear in the road directly ahead of your vehicle to "lead" you there, rather than audibly describing how to get to your destination.
Crosswalk panels can alert drivers when pedestrians are on the crosswalk. Once the crosswalk panels detect a pedestrian, the LEDs within the crosswalk begin flashing and a warning is displayed in front of oncoming vehicles. Watch the following demonstration:
If a vehicle crosses the center line too many times within a given distance, a ring of LEDs can be drawn around the vehicle, which will travel with it indefinitely. This will warn other drivers of a potential danger and will alert law enforcement officials of a potential problem. It may just be someone tuning their radio, eating a Big Mac, reading a map, or applying makeup (we've seen all of these), but it may also be an impaired driver on his/her way to taking out a family of four. The Solar Roadways could drastically reduce the number of deaths/injuries caused by impaired driving. This too, ought to result in lowered insurance rates for all of us.
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