'Glowing lanes' on highways could spell the end of costly street lighting, according to a Dutch designer. Daan Roosengaarde's 'Smart Highway' involves photoluminescent paint markings on roads that are charged in sunlight and glow at night to denote lanes. Jim Drury reports.
Daan Roosengaarde believes his 'Smart Highway' project spells the end for traditional road lighting. The Dutch designer says his 'glowing lanes' will allow road users to drive safely on highways at night without the need for street lamps. The lanes are created with photoluminescent paint coated on roads. The paint absorbs sunlight during daylight hours, and releases the energy at night, with enough power to glow in the dark for up to ten hours. Roosegarde says photosensitive paint will be more cost-effective than energy-intensive street lighting. He says inspiration for the project came from the sea world. SOUNDBITE: DESIGNER, DAAN ROOSEGAARDE, SAYING: "What you see now is that there is incredible amount of hardware needed to have something very immaterial which is light, the gigantic street lamps and cables and wires and maintenance, I was always amazed by that, why can't we just look at how jellyfish behaves, deep in the water they have their own light." The designer's company Studio Roosegaarde has worked on the project with Heijmans, a leading Dutch road manufacturer. Heijmans' Head of Sales Kristel Van Haaren says it's the technology of the future. SOUNDBITE: HEIJMANS HEAD OF SALES AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, KRISTEL VAN HAAREN, SAYING: "This is technology in which there is an additive, a photo-illuminating additive, it charges during the day and during the night it releases the energy, so basically it glows in the dark at night, so the infrastructure of the future is much more about the interaction with the user of the infrastructure and much more about the sustainability of the infrastructure, so the road being the source of energy." The concept will be tested later this year on a 150-metre stretch of highway in Brabant province.. But there's more to the Smart Highway project than photoluminescent paint. Other plans include induction priority lanes to charge electric vehicles as they drive over the road. Another involves painting fluorescent snowflakes, invisible in normal weather conditions, on the road surface. When temperatures fall the flakes are designed to glow, warning drivers of possible dangerous conditions. In an energy concious world, Roosegarde believes intelligent design is a vital component in future technologies. He says it's simply a matter of seeing the light.