Dutch highways will soon glow in the dark


Daan Roosegaarde, from Studio Roosegaarde in the Netherlands, has been busy in the past year unveiling new smart-road infrastructure that, believe it or not, will glow in the dark.

Much like the glow-in-the-dark paint we played with as kids, a not-so-different paint will soon replace the paint used for road lines. It will absorb sunlight from the day and glow for up to 10 hours during the night. This intuitive innovation is a response to a push in the Netherlands to reduce energy consumption and cut costs while maintaining a standard of safety for drivers.

This is not the only innovation being proposed by Studio Roosegaarde. Another variation of the glowing road markings will see snowflakes painted on the highways that glow a fluorescent blue when there is a risk of ice.

Could these innovations weather our harsh Canadian winters?

Via Wired

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  1. Doesn’t seem to be feasible for our vast land mass. The labour cost to paint all the highways and their maintenance could be more effectively used elsewhere, such as raised pavement marker to avoid straying when the roads are covered in a layer of salt. Besides, the layer of salt is likely to render the glow-in-the-dark paint irrelevant.

    On the other hand, it might work if a temperature-sensitive glow-in-the-dark material is mixed into the asphalt for the future repair. But this is all assuming that accidents are caused by weather condition. It is mostly caused by driver distraction. Such beautiful road might actually cause more accidents. Until there is significant data on its usefulness, I’d say let the Dutch be our guinea pigs.

  2. Roads get repainted once in a while anyway, in major cities like Toronto, some roads get repainted every year. So glow in the dark lines would be possible, it’s just swapping out one paint for another. One issue though, in Winter it can be dark by 5PM, so 10 hours would get you to about 3AM. With traffic starting at 5AM, you have up to three hours of non-glowing lines.

  3. I can see a potential safety issue on Canadian highways. Seeing the lines at night is not your biggest concern. Seeing the deer or moose about to run across the highway is what always concerns me. All those glowing lines (anyone remember the early ’80s arcade game Night Driver) can give you a false sense of security.

    (On Canada Day, I had a false sense of security on Highway 69, just north of Parry Sound on a two-lane section. 10PM, pretty dark, lots of traffic. Surely moose would run away from the traffic? As it turns out, the traffic just makes them run across the road faster. One ran out just after an oncoming semi-trailer. All I knew is that some big dark mass was obscuring the lights of the next oncoming car. I hit the brakes. The right corner of my bumper just ticked the rear right hoof.)

    The glowing lines make sense where it is often foggy, which I presume the Netherlands tend to be.

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