Back in October we told you about how infrastructure designers in the Netherlands have decided that the country's highways need a major high-tech makeover and now those ideas are becoming reality. The Netherlands will start experimenting with photoluminescent paint on roads that charges in sunlight and then glows at night to denote lanes, traffic markers and even cold weather conditions.
The Smart Highway concept was designed by Studio Roosegaarde and infrastructure management group Heijmans. It won Best Future Concept at the Dutch Design Awards, but where concepts like these usually end there, this one is actually getting implemented this year.
The glow-in-the-dark paint at the center of the new roadway design is made with photo-luminising powder that will replace road markings. After being exposed to sunlight throughout the day, it then provides 10 hours of glow at night.
“It’s like the glow in the dark paint you and I had when we were children,” the designer behind the concept, Daan Roosegaarde, explained to Wired UK, “but we teamed up with a paint manufacturer and pushed the development. Now, it’s almost radioactive”.
The typical traffic markings will be painted on the roads, but the idea also includes plans for special painted snowflakes that will glow when temperatures drop and conditions could be icy. As a test of concept, a stretch of highway in the province of Branbant will be coated with the special weather-indicating paint in mid-2013.
The paint is just one part of the Smart Highway concept though. It also calls for some other smart road features, a couple we've covered before, like induction priority lanes that would charge electric vehicles as they drive over the road, interactive lights that switch on as cars pass and wind-powered lights that are planned to implemented in the next five years.
If you want to feel jealous of the Netherlands, you can watch a video of the concept below.