Colorado planning to test ‘smart pavement’ technology

DENVER – The Colorado Department of Transportation is partnering with a start-up company to test a stretch of “smart pavement.”

Tim Sylvester, CEO of Kansas City, Mo.-based Integrated Roadways, said the company’s smart pavement technology could be a lifesaver in accidents along remote highways.

The partnership stems, in part, from an accident along U.S. 285 involving a car that veered off the road and down an embankment into an aspen grove.

The driver was found five days later suspended upside-down in her car with her feet crushed and her ribs broken — barely clinging to life.

Sylvester said smart pavement, which includes sensors and the latest fiber-optic and wireless technology, would be able to summon help within minutes of such crashes.

The smart pavement test will be conducted along a half-mile stretch of 285 where the crash occurred. It would be the first test of its kind in the United States.

“We’re doing it at this location for safety and better response times,” Sylvester said. “If we can reduce the response time of emergency services, that could spell the difference between life and death.”

The technology is part of the “Internet of Things” sector, which involves autonomous vehicles, so-called smart cities infrastructure and intelligent roads that can not only identify and warn drivers of hazardous conditions and sharp curves but also provide an interconnectedness that is increasingly widespread.

CDOT is readying a $2.75 million contract with Integrated Roadways to test the company’s technology, which consists of precast and interlocking concrete slabs embedded with an array of sensors, processors and antennae. If a vehicle leaves the roadway, weight sensors in the pavement and sensors that track location and speed can alert Integrated Roadways’ software that emergency personnel need to be dispatched to the scene.

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