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Netherlands To Get "Smart Highways" In 2013

Innovations from Daan Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure include glow-in-the-dark roads and dynamic paint.

We already have smartphones and in the future we’re told we’ll be getting “smart” buildings, “smart” cars, “smart” surfaces—everything’s going to be so much smarter that we’re going to get an inferiority complex. You can now add roads to that list too and Studio Roosegaarde‘s Smart Highway project shows how that’s happening.

Daan Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure presented their prophesying at the Dutch Design Week and while some of their ideas are prototypes, in the Netherlands they aim to implement a few of the innovations on highways by mid 2013. The aim is to “make roads that are more sustainable and interactive by using interactive lights, smart energy, and road signs that adapt to specific traffic situations.”


Ideas to be implemented in 2013 include glow-in-the-dark roads that are treated with “foto-luminising powder” which get their energy from the sun and illuminate the road at night. Complimenting these will be dynamic paint (above), which is temperature reactive and will enable drivers to gain direct information about road conditions—so ice-crystals will become visible when it’s cold and the road is slippery.

Other ideas include interactive lights that light up when drivers are near, induction priority lanes that charge electric cars, and wind lights which are charged using wind energy.