Significant advance has been made in the evolution of the automobile. We are continuing too see such advances with the launch of new electric cars promising to change the way cars are powered. Not much has been developed, discussed or heard of about the surface the vehicles are running on. Well, until now. Dutch Firm VolkerWessels has been developing a new kind of road surface, plastic. And most importantly, it is as good as it sounds unconventional.
The company is claiming significant benefits to plastic road surface, including cutting cost and time of construction, less maintenance as well as longer life span. The plastic slabs are prefabricated and modular, hence the roads can be built (or replaced) with a lot more ease. The company claims that it can cut construction time from months to weeks. The road module is hollow, allowing cabling to run under the surface. But there is more than that to plastic roads.
Plastic is a resistant material and can better cope with high temperatures and water, reducing significantly the corrosion on our roads. The outcome we can all imagine: smoother roads with less potholes and bumps. This will increase the durability of the vehicles and reduce the cost of fixing and maintaining cars.
Furthermore, there is the positive environmental impact. The plastic road surface is made out of recycled plastic and reduces the use of asphalt, which is a carbon intensive production chain. In addition to that, plastic roads will produce less noise than asphalt, contributing to the improvement of noise it the cities.
Imagine a world where roads are made out of recycled plastic, with driver-less electric cars co-operating with an integrated public transport system. It is the future and it is not as far as it seems. When this time comes, we will look back at today’s roads and cars the same way we look back at chariots and dirty roads.
At this stage, VolkerWessels’ PlasticRoad is only a concept product. The company is looking for partners and investors to help development, perform testing (including in icy and wet conditions) and eventually take the product to the market. It is exciting times ahead, and all thanks to technological advance.