FutureStructure

Missouri Announces Nation's First Smart Roadway

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission announced that it's seeking public input as the state plans to build a 200-mile section of Interstate 70 into a cutting-edge example of transportation technology.

by / June 4, 2015

Self-driving and connected vehicles, morphing highway paint, and solar roadways are hot in the research world, but Missouri plans to make these technologies and more part of their Road to Tomorrow.

Stephen Miller, chairman of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, announced on June 3 the new Road to Tomorrow project that will rebuild a 200-mile stretch of Interstate 70 to form what officials are calling the nation’s first smart highway.

Exact plans for the project are not yet decided, and officials are seeking public input via a Web form on the project’s webpage. “There are no bad ideas,” one document says (PDF). Videos and references to existing research and technologies, however, give visitors an idea of the kind of thing state officials have in mind. 

“Innovations like GPS systems, autonomous vehicles, alternative fuels, new construction materials and computer-enhanced 'smart' roads are changing the way we travel,” the website reads. “We must build on this rising tide of new technology. It is time to reach out to the world and gather the ingenuity, innovation and imagination it will take to build the transportation system of the future.”

Interstate 70 is a crucial roadway in the state; it's within a three-mile proximity of 19 percent of the state’s businesses, and the roadway accounts for more than 31 million tons of freight annually, totaling more than $59 billion.

Partnered with Improve I-70, an organization dedicated to the maintenance and improvement of one of the state’s most crucial corridors, the state will work with partners and the public to conceive a roadway unseen anywhere else in the nation.