One of the most vital economic sectors, road infrastructure plays a huge role in the operation and improvement of a country’s social and economic status. Especially true in developing countries like the Philippines, road infrastructure and its constant maintenance is very important to keep businesses alive and for trade to continue. Because of this, the road construction industry plays a significant role in the country, and any innovations in the industry have very promising effects on all the sectors that heavily rely on road infrastructure.
For the past few decades, technological refinements that influence the many aspects of road infrastructure have made big strides in the industry. From advancing technological systems that can make a road construction’s workflow more streamlined and efficient, to the development of sustainable materials that can make the industry more earth-friendly, there are many innovations in road construction that are changing the industry. Below are some of the most important innovations in road construction today.
3D Printing For Materials In Road Construction
3D printing has been making the headlines for quite a while now, helping various industries make significant step-ups in their workflow and basic materials. In the road construction industry, 3D scales have been used for a long time as well, but it is now only being rendered to a physical form, thanks to the latest innovation in 3D printing technology.
Before, 3D printing was limited to building small-scale versions of digital models. However, in a scientific breakthrough as recent as 2018, scientists were able to produce an effective method for 3D printing asphalt. Believed to be the first of its kind, this 3D printing method of asphalt has now been developed into an automatic 3D asphalt printing machine that is aimed to help to automatically detect and fill in tiny cracks in a pavement’s surface. While this type of road construction technology is not yet widely used, the innovation is expected to make road repair easier in the near future.
Remote Sensing Methods In Road Construction
Innovations in artificial intelligence that have a significant impact on the road construction industry include LiDAR and other modern road mapping technologies. LiDAR uses eye-safe laser beams to measure the distance of a road construction site, as well as map out the necessary underground utilities designed for the project.
LiDAR and other similar remote measuring technologies ease the work of the architects, engineers, and other people involved in the pre-planning of the project. It also improves the accuracy of the information needed for pre-planning, such as the entire scope of the construction site, potential hazard zones, and even information on the history of the shifts of the ground that is important in the overall planning of the road infrastructure.
Sustainable Materials For Road Infrastructure Development
One of the most important latest innovations in road infrastructure, microplastic-based roads are a promising advancement that does not only benefit the road construction industry but also the planet. Microplastic pollutants incorporated in road asphalt produce a very durable material that lessens plastic pollution while increasing the safety of the road.
Plastic is one of the most common pollutants on the planet, especially so in its microscopic form that can pollute even the air that we breathe. The innovation of creating plastic-waste-based roads is an important step in reusing plastic while improving the economic sector, including the road construction industry.
The Future Of Road Construction
Due to the continuous advancements in technology, innovations that have positive effects on our lives are not limited. These improvements are also reflected in one of the most basic infrastructures in any country, which are the roads that connect people and places. Innovations in road construction are always leaning toward making the industry more beneficial and efficient for the people that use it.
- Jackson J.R., Wojcik, A., Miodownik, M. (2018) 3D printing of asphalt and its effect on mechanical properties. Materials & Design. ScienceDirect. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S026412751830724X
- Stephen, J. (9 February 2023) 7 technology trends in construction for 2023. Construction Technology. Retrieved from: https://www.constructiontechnology.media/news/7-technology-trends-in-construction-for-2023/8026553.article
- GeoSlam (n.d.) What is LiDAR and how does it work? Retrieved from: https://geoslam.com/what-is-lidar/