October 3, 2013 – Imagine a smart highway loaded with sensors that communicate with you as you drive letting you know about traffic patterns ahead and slowing you down to minimize potential bottlenecks. Well the A14 in the U.K. is about to become the first Internet-enabled roadway over a distance of about 112 kilometers (70 miles). Between Felixstowe and Cambridge drivers with mobile phones will receive messages alerting them to road congestion ahead. For automobiles with built-in wireless communications the highway will have the capability of slowing these vehicles down to smooth traffic flow.
The cost of improvements to the A14 will be paid for by a toll. Initially the sensors will gather information about cars and then later heavier vehicles which will allow the Department of Transport to building a comprehensive understanding of traffic patterns. The array which falls under the operational control of Britain’s Ofcom, is the first step in building a national smart road infrastructure.