ADOT monitoring crash detection technology in Colorado

Posted at 10:35 PM, Jun 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-09 01:35:53-04

We have high-tech phones, high-tech cars, so what about high-tech roads? 

ABC15 is taking a deeper look at a new technology that's not just "hitting the roads" in Colorado--it's underneath them, and how it could maybe save lives. 

"Someone was going to find me," explained Colorado mom Kristin Hopkins. "I prayed someone was going to find me." 

They were the longest six days of Hopkins' life. 

"When I first came to, I thought, 'I have to go pick up my kids,'" she explains. "When they were going to smash the window, I put my hand up, and they realized I wasn't dead." 

How she survived is still a mystery. Hopkins had crashed her car off a Colorado freeway, landed upside down and spent nearly a week in agony, trapped inside before anyone even noticed. 

But new technology is trying to change that. It's called "Smart Pavement" - it looks like a normal roadway, but underneath the surface, there are special sensors that send out signals when a driver crashes.  

The creators say it could save lives. 

"When someone drives off the road here, we can immediately know that it happened," explains Tim Sylvester with Integrate Roadways. "And it would immediately send emergency services to help people."

That would mean Hopkins may not have been stranded because police would have been notified right away.  

Sylvester says the technology can do more than save lives.

"Smart Pavement can collect enormous amounts of data about traffic, driver behavior, collisions, and other events that occur on roadways." 

Sylvester explains that could mean improving roadway design, helping alleviate traffic woes, and making roads more conducive to driverless and hybrid vehicles. 

For Hopkins, any improvement is worth the cost. 

"Technology is amazing, and if they can do things like this and help save people, then that's amazing." 

So, is this something Arizona would consider? We reached out to the Arizona Department of Transportation and officials told us they frequently talk to other states and see what new tools they have and will be watching how Smart Pavement does in Colorado before making any official decisions.