SHAPING THE FUTURE OF ROAD ENGINEERING WITH ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES
The world is changing faster than before, with more challenges due to rapid urbanization. As the needs of cities increase, we must learn to adapt and innovate with the help of technology. The advancement of technology has transformed the way we live, especially the way we communicate, and influence other fields of study, including transportation and engineering.
Technology and innovation has been present throughout the history of mankind. We have come a long way since the discovery of the early civilizations in the Fertile Crescent and the technology used by the Mesopotamian that allowed their civilization to flourish. Through innovation and the development of advanced technology, we now live in a time that mega cities, or megalopolis, exist and their numbers and size are continuously increasing. With the rapid development in urban areas, present day technologies are assisting the infrastructure (transportation, water, electricity, housing, social services, recreation, etc.) to cope with the increasing demands of the urban population.
Advanced technology has provided more effective ways of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and evaluating public infrastructure, particularly road and bridge infrastructure. The provision of an effective road network in any country is vital in a nation’s development because it serves as the backbone supporting the industries and services throughout the country, thus paving the way for sustainable economic growth.
Roads, just like any infrastructure, have huge investment requirements. To prevent any losses to either the public or private sector, road projects must be planned taking into consideration several factors and arriving at various optimal alternatives by making use of existing data to simulate future scenarios. With the onset of advanced technology, various software and programs are now available to streamline the process of planning and design. They are capable of using existing data and information to create comprehensive scenarios that can mimic real-life urban landscapes. Furthermore, the emergence of augmented reality, drones, and 3D scanning and printing promotes an increase in productivity and efficient project management.
More often than not, the construction of any infrastructure also has a negative impact on the environment due to the extraction of resources and the release of pollutants. Advanced technology has reduced the effect of road construction on the environment by improving the use of scarce materials and by making infrastructure processes more Eco-efficient. At the same time, equipment has also been made more efficient and safer.
Maintenance and evaluation is also vital in the road project cycle and digital technology has made it easier to record and store information. This is used to assess current conditions and provide relevant input into what is needed to improve them in the future. With the development of data management tools and analytics, more comprehensive databases are also created to ensure the efficiency of implementation and communication among concerned agencies.
Innovations in road engineering have, and will continue to have, trans-formative effects in the future. The development of improved planning and development processes results in a reduction in construction costs, the impact on the environment and the economy. The advancement of technology and innovation will shape the future in terms of reducing the impacts of the infrastructure on the environment and boosting economic development.