Worldwide governments spend huge amounts of money on transport infrastructure.
And to make headway in building and maintaining such costly investments, they will have to keep on spending. Wireless Sensor Networks are a cost-effective and scalable option for reducing infrastructure maintenance costs and increasing safety on the road.
The use of sensors can contribute to these projects by creating a series of smart applications that may lead to a better and safer world. Throughout the years, many transport infrastructures—bridges, tunnels or viaducts—have collapsed due to natural disasters or because of poor maintenance. One of the best examples is the bridge in Minneapolis in 2007 that killed 13 people and injured 145. In 2008, this bridge was re-built using a sensing system to collect data regarding structural behavior and corrosion.
Monitoring bridges is one of the more successful applications of Smart Roads. For instance, the six-lane, 2.9 km Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge in Greece is outfitted with 100 sensors that monitor its condition. Soon after opening in 2004, the sensors detected abnormal vibrations in the cables holding the bridge, which led engineers to install additional weight to dampen the cables. The sensor networks for these kinds of bridges include accelerometers, strain gauges, anemometers, weigh-in-motion devices and temperature sensors.