Roads that glow in the dark and change colour to warn drivers of icy conditions seem like the stuff of fantasy... But they’re set to debut in the Netherlands from next year.
These are just two of a number of innovations created for the Smart Highways project by Dutch companies Studio Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure.
The glow in the dark road is created by mixing photo-luminescent powder into the paint used for lines. These absorb sunlight in the day and can then glow for up to 10 hours at night – lighting up the roads at no cost.
Another piece of tech uses temperature-responsive paint to warn of slippery conditions by showing ice crystal graphics.
A spokesman for Studio Roosegaarde said: “We are innovating the highway to make roads that are more sustainable and interactive.”
Other ideas in the Smart Highways project – which won Best Future Concept at the Dutch Design Awards – included motion-sensitive motorway lights. These switch on as they sense cars approaching and switch off once they’ve passed, saving energy on quiet roads without compromising safety.
The companies also thought up dedicated electric vehicle lanes under which wireless induction charge pads would be installed, so that cars could charge continuously as they drive over them. Both ideas could become reality within five years, the innovators say.