Labeled as the route 66 of the future, a smart highway has been unveiled on a 500 metre stretch of highway in Oss, Netherlands.
Designer Daan Roosegarrade and Dutch civil engineering firm Heijmans have worked alongside each other to develop this idea aimed at saving energy and cutting costs.
The glow in the dark motorway has been made with paint containing photo-luminescing compounds. These compounds absorb daylight and can glow for up to 8 hours at night.
Speaking with the BBS, Roosegaarde said:
“The government is shutting down streetlights at night to save money, energy is becoming much more important than we could have imagined 50 years ago. This road is about safety and envisaging a more self-sustainable and more interactive world.”
As well as glow in the dark paint, they have also designed temperature activated paint so that certain symbols will show up during specific temperatures, ie snow flakes when it’s cold. However this has not yet been implemented.
In my opinion this is a good starting block but there are factors that worry me. 8 hours may not be enough, the UK has temperamental weather. Sometimes it can be technically day-time but the light levels outside would suggest otherwise and, without street lighting visibility, would be diminished. Another issue could be the potential wear and tear. Hopefully this will be assessed through testing, and the durability of the paint can be proven one way or another.
And my final concern would be – Humans. It’s not often you see a glow in the dark road. I’m sure if it’s implemented it will one day become the norm, however if you came across it now I’m sure many people would be tempted to switch off their headlights to enjoy the view, creating its own safety concerns.
However, knit picking aside, I believe one day the smart highway could well take off. Let’s hope Roosegaarde will be successful.