In the 22nd century fusion energy is as cheap as dirt.
A populist politician proposes building of heated roads that will automatically melt all snow and ice during winter.

What are the drawbacks of such roads? What will be the effect on nature?

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    $\begingroup$ Have you done any research on the topic before asking here? I have the impression this is a poorly researched technical question, with no relation to worldbuiling at all. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Feb 28, 2022 at 9:51
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    $\begingroup$ Research like this what-if.xkcd.com/130 $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2022 at 9:53
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    $\begingroup$ In the real world, cities such as Oslo and Helsinki have heated sidewalks so that they melt snow and ice in winter time, in order to prevent the pedestrians from slipping and falling over. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Feb 28, 2022 at 9:59
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    $\begingroup$ The premise is that energy is free, there is nothing expensive in placing conductors inside asphalt. It is a question about unintended consequences: maybe wild animals will occupy warm spots and jam the road. $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2022 at 10:00
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    $\begingroup$ I feel like this is a bit open-ended right now... "what is the effect on nature" is about as unbounded as you can get. Can you narrow things down a bit? Is there anything in particular you're interested in? $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2022 at 10:58

1 Answer 1


As @AlexP told, in Oslo and Helsinki city governments have installed electric elements in sidewalks to keep them ice- and snow-free. Similarly electric elements can be installed under the roads.


  • It is cheaper than clearing snow with shovels.
  • There are less accidents and injuries by slipping.
  • Using salt may have problems like seepage or cyanide in NaCl.


A lot of energy is needed so the heating system should be used in a well calculated way.

  • $\begingroup$ Norway is a country of mountains that gets 95% of their energy from renewable hydro power. It makes sense there. $\endgroup$ Jun 2, 2022 at 18:52

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