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Forever Open Road
The Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories (FEHRL) has set itself the challenge to develop a truly inspiring vision for how roads will be built and maintained in the 21st century. The result is the Forever Open Road – a revolutionary concept that will bring together the best of what we have today with the best of what’s to come, and produce the 5th generation road. A road that is adaptable, automated and climate change resilient, based upon a concept for building and maintaining roads that can be applied whether motorway, rural or urban, and regardless of region or country.
By bringing together innovative technologies and concepts, and by harvesting knowledge and expertise from across Europe this new generation road will transform the way roads are built, designed, maintained and operated. It will also bring Europe to the forefront of developing the future of transport.
The Forever Open Road will tackle global challenges such as climate change, carbon reduction, energy saving, as well as the increasing need for journey time reliability in response to rising demand both for private car travel and the delivery of goods by road. At the same time, it will help meet European goals to provide transport infrastructure that is:
The Forever Open Road will encourage Pan-European engagement and collaboration, and stimulate research across the member states bringing cost savings and benefi ts for all. It will also bring together public and private sector organisations with expertise in road design, travel behaviour, road safety, intelligent transport systems, vehicle manufacture, environmental impact and product manufacturing.
The road would adapt to future maintenance, changing capacity demand and vehicle manufacturer needs; it would automatically provide in-built vehicle guidance, as well as travel information and performance measurement; it will be built from sustainable materials; and will harvest, store and use energy, will cope with excess water and temperature change, and will be able to clean and repair itself.
The journey to the Forever Open Road will not be without its challenges; not least because some of the obstacles to be overcome are as yet unknown. What is certain is that Europe’s central forum for highway research, FEHRL, can provide the leadership and motivation that is needed to deliver a programme of research with such a wide scope for
What Happens Next
The phasing of the programme of research will take the Forever Open Road through from concept development through to demonstration projects and monitoring, and working towards full-scale trials of both the individual elements and the complete concept. The planned phasing of the programme is:
Taking forward such a visionary concept will require support and involvement from governments, academic institutions and industry from across Europe. If you or your organisation would like to become involved please contact:
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