Heated Roads Pave the Way to the Future


My idea that I would want Elon Musk to “invent” is heated roads.  More specifically I would want Musk to come up with a cost-effective way to heat roads and highways in order to melt snow and other inclement weather.  It is clear in recent years that weather patterns have become somewhat strange. Parts of the northeast (US) have been hit with several feet of snow. Perhaps even more worrisome is that many areas of the south have also been hit with snow, and they are not nearly as prepared to remove it.

Heated roads and highways would provide a much safer travelling experience all over the country, and potentially the world. Millions of Americans could be positively impacted by this kind of innovation.  It is not the first time this idea has been proposed. This article shows that scientists and engineers have tried to develop new kinds of roads that could melt roads, but progress has yet to really been seen. I propose a way to heat the current roads that we have now.

The most important aspect to this idea is cost-effectiveness. The cost of installing Musk’s new heating system in roads would have to be less than the current budget for snow removal services such as plows and salt.  The project must have a positive NPV. Additionally, the burden of construction would have to outweighed by the benefits of effectively safer roads. I do not possess the know-how needed to invent such a system, otherwise I would not be asking Elon Musk to invent it for me, but I would imagine that he could come up with an easy way to insert an easily heated material underneath the gravel of roads and highways that could then be activated and initiated from above ground.

If implemented properly, this system could save lives as well as make travelling easier on a daily basis in the winter time.  If Elon Musk could figure out a way to heat roads on an affordable basis, then many people could be positively impacted.

 

Featured Image: http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2012/11/how-to-drive-on-snow-and-ice-winter-driving-safety-tips.html

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6 thoughts on “Heated Roads Pave the Way to the Future”

  1. Traffic accidents due to weather is definitely a concern we should solve. According to one site, there have been over a million weather-related cashes in the past decade, resulting in half a million injuries and over 6,000 deaths. Considering fog and rain are also big concerns, I wonder whether Musk could simply design a super tire that looks normal but actually has some sort of amazing, magnetic-like traction to the road in any condition, making it nearly impossible to skid on the pavement.

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  2. This is an awesome idea and would lower the number of accidents annually. The biggest challenge this invention poses is scale. Does this happen all over the US? Just in major cities? You correct in thinking about costs and having a positive NPV but how would you measure this? In the number of accidents prevented each year? Another thing to consider is the invention of self-driving cars. Do they play a role in the new highway system?

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  3. I really like this idea and would benefit our society in many ways. But I would just question the maintenance process and how they would look like because many people come up with these inventions thinking they will greatly benefit a society. Many people let the benefits overshadow the consequences, so I think it is important to also take into other social, cultural, and environmental implications.

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  4. Greg, I think this is a pretty neat idea. The two challenges would be heating roads in a cost effective way and making sure ice doesn’t form when all of the snow is melted and there is a sudden drop in temperature. If both of these obstacles could be tackled, heated roads would make travel much easier and safer.

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  5. 6,000 deaths a year is business as usual…

    3,000 + die in 9/11 attacks and we spend, literally, TRILLIONS on wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and on-going covert wars all over the world.

    Just sayin’

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