LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A local lawmaker wants to turn traffic jams into electricity generators.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) says AB 306 would pave the way for tiny sensors to be installed in the roads that would turn vibrations into energy.

Gatto tells KNX 1070 the installation would cost roughly $500,000 per mile over a project estimated to take about eight years.

The traffic vibrations necessary to fuel the energy conversion can reportedly be found in every road in California.

“If you’ve ever stood on a bridge or in a parking garage, you’ve probably felt the structure vibrate. Our roads do the same thing,” Gatto says.

The bill calls for sensors to be installed only when roads are being resurfaced anyway to reduce extra costs beyond the connection to the state power grid and the sensors themselves.

An assembly committee is set to take up the bill this week.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (8)
  1. Allen Jefferis says:

    Well the obvious question is: Will the energy generated be substantial enough to warrant half-a-mil per mile?

  2. Derek Jacobs says:

    I read up on the technology and it looks like it is half as expensive as natural gas and a quarter as cheap as solar or wind!

  3. Randy Nichols says:

    If you study the physics of the idea of using road vibrations to generate energy, you will probably find it is a poor idea. If the road is taking energy from cars, then the cars are not getting their best mileage, and the road should be fixed to improve the cars’ mileage, not use some expensive, inefficient mechanism to recover vibrational energy. You are stealing from Peter to pay Paul. It’s okay to use that energy to power extremely low-power electronics, such as a micro-watt traffic sensor, but you may do better with a solar cell. It is just not an important energy issue.

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