I’m Dreaming... Of Underground Heating

Ask any driver what would make courier jobs easier. One of their suggestions will probably include ‘heated roads’.

As the winter months set in, those carrying out courier jobs must continue to drive through the ice and cold. Jobs become much harder and more treacherous during the cold weather, all of which equates to longer and slower work hours.

Like most drivers who spend plenty of hours behind the wheel mulling over world issues, couriers are well aware of a potential solution to the slushy roads found in the winter. Heated roads! It may sound crazy, but is it really?

Cold Weather Hazards

The list of issues that drivers face as a consequence of inclement weather is long. From long-haul contracts to local courier jobs, the weather plays a major role in a driver’s degree of success and safety. Professional drivers must be on high alert for:

•Black ice

•Snow accumulation

•Flying debris

•Slower braking speeds

•Increased safe travelling distances

•Increased traffic

•Road closures

•Wear-and-tear on a vehicle due to ice build-up

•Other road users ignoring some or all of the above

Along with all of these common sense hazards, drivers also have to deal with the public losing their collective minds any time the temperatures dip or a single snowflake dares to fall from the sky. It can literally become a cold and icy jungle out there.

No Easy Solutions

The techniques that are currently utilised by local governments are fraught with problems and layers of issues. Firstly the weather, a typically fickle and unpredictable thing, is monitored by humans who do not have the best reputation for efficiency or thoroughness in the face of mass hysteria. The amount of grit purchased each year by local governments is based on a guess at best, and any miscalculation as to when to apply the road grit can either render it completely useless or result in it building up excessively on the side of the road.

Yes, this is better than nothing, but can it be that there’s really nothing better?

Heated Roads

One somewhat strange idea that would make courier jobs during the winter much easier is the possibility of heating the roadways. At first glance, the idea appears to be preposterous and definitely sounds expensive. However, after delving a little further into the prospect and its logistics, it actually doesn’t sound so crazy.

Heated surfaces are actually quite common in many places already. Residential homes utilise the heat from water pipes under the floor, airports generally heat the surface of their runways to avoid delays during freezing conditions and most modern football pitches have underground heating to prevent the field from freezing.

Many Scandinavian countries are piloting the idea for their bike lanes. In cities where bicycles are a dominating mode of transportation, even for courier jobs, uninhibited year-round accessibility is essential. The potential expense of installing such a system certainly depends on the method being used. 

Governments have the option of utilising solar energy, geothermal energy or installing electric heating elements under the road’s surface. The money saved from not having to purchase grit or suffer income loss due to inclement weather and increased pressure on emergency services makes the idea much more cost-effective than we realise.

Just a Pipe Dream

Although heated roads appear to be a common sense method of tackling the winter weather’s effect on the roadways, ‘common sense’ is not always one of human beings’ strongest traits. Obviously, it comes down to a cash flow issue for most local governments. Until there are funds to cover the initiative, fleet drivers and professionals carrying out courier jobs will simply have to keep dreaming the dream.

Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.

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