Glow-in-the-dark 'smart highways' could be heading our way

By Editors on November 2, 2012 2:43 PM
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Dutch-based Studio Roosegaarde and infrastructure management group Heijmans have developed a new idea for a "Smart Highway" that will literally glow in the dark. In addition to its solar-energized illuminated line markings, it will incorporate temperature-sensitive weather indicators that become visible to warn of potential icy surface conditions. Part of a comprehensive sustainability package that also includes Electric Vehicle priority lanes with inductive charging capabilities, road lighting powered by wind-generated electricity and interactive lighting that only switches on when a vehicle is in the immediate vicinity, the Smart Highway suite was awarded Best Future Concept at the recent 2012 Dutch Design Awards.

Key to the glow-road aspect of the Smart Highway is a specially formulated photo-luminizing powder that gets mixed into the "dynamic" marker paint.  It soaks up energy from the sun during daylight hours and then radiates it back for up to 10 hours when night falls. The supplemental ability to have it also warn of possible freezing road conditions is merely icing on the tarmac cake, so to speak. According to its developers, the glow-in-the-dark Smart Highway surface will get its first real-world test in Holland starting sometime in mid-2013. However, Studio Roosegaarde and Heijmans are anxious to see it adopted elsewhere in the world and believe that the U.S. West Coast would be a particularly good candidate for its implementation.

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