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In February 2020, before this whole covid crisis started, I participated in a congress in London, MOVE2020. There I listened to a talk by Susanna Zammataro, General Director of the International Road Federation, who shared with the audience potential opportunities on the importance and need to connect users, vehicles and infrastructure. The conclusion of this talk was: Building the infrastructure right is no longer good enough; In this impeding connected era, the real question is: Are we building the right infrastructure? …


The history of “engineering inventions” is almost as long as human history. Afterall every tool, from the very first flintstones, is an “engineering creation” and this is what sets us apart. Over the past few centuries the scientific breakthroughs and the engineering invention rate grew exponentially, where some inventions (e.g. transistor, wireless communication, internet etc.) opened a whole new space for “engineering creation”.

From an early age I was fascinated by “engineering inventions” of all kinds, and their history. Aside from the excitement of learning something new, the frequent question that came to mind was “how did they get to…


Road operators worldwide have a duty to service our road network, a critical enabler of our economy, wellbeing, and quality of life day after day. In order to safely and consistently move people and goods from point A to point B, road operators have to rigorously organize their operations to react quickly to incidents and to maintain systems for decades. While the way we fund roads varies across operators, the way road networks are managed, maintained, and grown are consistent across systems. These operations are often a legacy of how road operations have always been conducted, a product of managing…


When it comes to roads, almost everyone looks at the vehicles themselves. And with CAVs positioned as the perfect solution, it is easy to forget that when things go wrong–and they inevitably will–how will those monitoring our roads respond?

Most roads around the world are not monitored, but for those that are, the steps taken in managing an incident vary depending on the type of incident and the resources available. For simplicity, we’ll break incident management into 6 steps: Detection, classification & validation, Prioritisation, Response, monitoring, resolution.

Detection and Validation

You can’t respond or manage incidents you don’t know about, but the detection…


Traffic management, as we know it today, originated in 1937 with the first traffic counter. Operated off a strip laid across the street, and used a six volt battery. Each hour it printed off a paper strip with the total impressions for that hour. This strip was replaced by pneumatic tubes in the 1950s, magnetic loops in the 1970s, and then radar and camera based vehicle recognition systems in the 2000’s. While a lot has changed in terms of the sensing technology, traffic management has not. This is because the actual data collected by these sensors has not fundamentally changed…


Two themes are common in conversations about connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs): that widespread autonomy is “just around the corner,” and that “it will change everything.” The former tends to be followed by realizations that this “corner” is actually further away than we thought. The latter tends to focus on expected upheaval in the automotive industry due to changes in vehicle design, manufacturing, and ownership. But what about the infrastructure that transports these vehicles? Particularly for roads with a P&L — tolled roads, congestion zones, managed lanes, etc. — what effect will CAVs have on their revenues, and what opportunities…


Roads have long been woven into the fabric of society as a public utility, used to move the economy and facilitate daily life. While this long tradition of connecting places with people will withstand the passage of time, roads are facing the biggest shift since the invention of asphalt. Mobility is getting smarter and introducing changes that threaten the old funding models of our road networks. Our roads are getting smart, and the business of roads must get smarter too.

Today, road construction, management, and maintenance are funded predominantly through taxes and charges. The main taxation that traditionally is allocated…


Henry Ford invented the Model T in 1908, making motorised transport accessible to all. The only issue was that, at the time, even if people could afford a car, they couldn’t drive it very fast or far (only 4% of roads were paved). Roads at the time “were often little more than trails that were muddy in the rain and dusty the rest of the time. Any long trip by automobile required not only time, patience, and ingenuity, but tire-patching equipment, tools, spare parts, and emergency food and fuel”. Of course, people did not buy a car to be stuck…

Valerann

Developing operating systems for roads, transforming them into data generating infrastructure that make our journeys safer, faster, and autonomy ready

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