EUPAVE launches the Debate on Smart Pavements in the EU

Hosted by MEP Pablo Arias Echeverría, EUPAVE organized on 18 March 2014 a breakfast-debate on "Smart infrastructure: new technologies & pavements" in the European Parliament.

Opening the event, MEP Arias Echeverría welcomed a group of fifty representatives from the EU institutions (European Parliament, European Commission) and European associations and companies while highlighting the need to go for the greening of transport infrastructure. He also mentioned his interest to see how the industry could provide for good and innovative solutions for urban mobility in order to have smarter cities. ”As things are changing worldwide, we need to be innovative” he added.

Stéphane Nicoud, President of EUPAVE, pointed out that concrete pavements provide sustainable solutions for society. By referring to the forthcoming presentations as a good example, he refused to consider the road construction sector as not innovative. Nicoud thanked EUPAVE for working hard in the last years to reinvent the sector and to show that concrete pavements can help to meet transport challenges and needs while at the same time contributing to achieve important goals set at EU level.

Professor Anne Beeldens (KU Leuven) presented relevant projects demonstrating the role of concrete pavements in air purification and inductive charging of vehicles. She explained that it is possible to achieve an air-purifying effect by using TiO2 (titanium dioxide) on the concrete pavement surface and help tackling air pollution in densely populated areas and towns. She also displayed the results of a project focused on the inductive charging system of electric vehicles embedded in a pavement, while illustrating that concrete is the best material for doing that.

Professor Nele De Belie (Ghent University) presented research results on self-healing concrete. She explained the different methods and mechanisms to have concrete pavements which can “heal” themselves from road cracks. The self-healing of cracks in concrete would contribute to a longer service life of the structure and it would make concrete not only more durable but also more sustainable.

Keir Fitch (DG MOVE, European Commission) reminded about EU transport funding opportunities like Horizon 2020 or Connecting Europe Facility to help "laboratory research projects to become demonstrated in a larger scale". He also agreed on the importance on using public procurement to deploy innovation in the transport infrastructure.

Afterwards, there was a debate animated by EUPAVE's Vice-president André Burger with interesting contributions from the audience.

Participants agreed that smart, green, low-maintenance and climate-resilient road infrastructure can help transforming the European transport system into a sustainable and competitive one.  

To read more on the event and to see more photos, please visit EU Affairs webpage.