Smart Highways Glow in the Dark

Five new technologies in development by Dutch design firms show what highways in the future could look like.

by / November 7, 2012
Glow-in-the-dark paint can glow for up to 10 hours and would replace reflective or ordinary paint used to form lanes on most roads.

Two Dutch design firms are developing a “Smart Highway” to test new technologies that could someday become common parts of roadway infrastructure around the world, Gizmag reported.

The test site, developed by Studio Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure, features roads with glow-in-the-dark paint, dynamic lighting and lanes that can charge electric cars.

There are five main new technologies that will be used to create the “Route 66 of the future,” according to the firms. “Dynamic Paint” is temperature sensitive paint that is transparent most of the time, but when it becomes cold enough to create hazards like black ice, the paint reveals warning symbols on the road.

Glow-in-the-dark paint, which absorbs energy from the sun and can glow in the dark for up to 10 hours, would replace reflective or ordinary paint used to form lanes on most roads.

Interactive lighting uses sensors to detect when vehicles approach. The difference between these sensors and those already found on the roads in some places is that the brightness of the light can adjust based on how far away a car is from the light, growing brighter as a car approaches and dimmer as a car leaves. Similarly, a “wind light” uses the wind created by a moving vehicle to power pinwheel generators connected to road lights.

An “induction priority lane” for electric cars uses underground induction coils to charge vehicles as they drive down the lane. A prototype of the road is expected to be operational sometime in 2013.

All images courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde