What could contribute to the safety of motorists and also save energy at the same time? Glow in the dark roads, ofcourse! This smart highway in the Netherlands stretches 500 meters of length. It also has a name. They call it “Route 66 of the future.” We all fancy naming our toys, don’t we? Dutch engineering firm Heijmans Infrastructure and Daan Roosegaarde are responsible for the design and development of this project. Somewhat similar to this project, Studio Roosegaarde has previously been part of projects like bioluminescent streetlamps as well as houseplant reading lights. Passengers around the N329 highway can now enjoy the benefits of this latest technology.
The glow in the dark properties are a result of paint that consists of photo luminescent powder. This powder charges itself in the day while the glow of green is apparent at night. Roosegaarde is excited about the ‘extreme’ luminescence which is believed to be “almost radioactive.” It is believed that the intended eight hours at nighttime that the glow is supposed to last could save money as the energy-draining streetlights won’t be necessary. Roosegaarde is of the view that similar to how billions are spent on design and development of cars, the roads deserve somewhat similar treatment. Afterall, they “determine the way our landscape looks.”
It is clear that if every glow-deprived road was lined with the same road markings this would require huge investment for the sake of road safety. Pete Thomas at Loughborough University’s Transport Safety Research Centre believes that there will be solid evidence required to be certain that this satisfies the safety claims. UK Highways Agency is closely monitoring these trails and especially interested in how these will hold up during the winter season when the days are short and the nights grow long. That will also help determine how well it holds up against wear and tear for longer periods.
The project was initially introduced in year 2012 along with temperature sensitive technology whereby snow during the fall would glow to indicate the road was slippery.