Smart Highway
  • Smart Highway
  • Glowing Lines

  • Smart Highway
  • Dynamic Paint

  • Smart Highway
  • Interactive Light

  • Smart Highway
  • Wind Light

  • Smart Highway
  • Electric Priority Lane

  • Smart Highway
  • Daan Roosegaarde and director of Heijmans

Most automotive safety advancements these days are being made either through the automakers or government standards, but one group in the Netherlands is coming up with innovative ways of making the roads safer... literally. Design firm Studio Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure have teamed up to introduce ideas for a so-called "Smart Highway" which was recently named the Best Future Concept at the Dutch Design Awards.

Incorporating ideas such as color-changing road paint, glow-in-the-dark lane markers and interactive street lights, the Smart Highway could help drivers on multiple levels. Using glow-in-the-dark lines road seems like a relatively low-cost idea for improving visibility (especially in rural areas) while the interactive lights use motion sensors to illuminate the roadways only when cars are detected, a feature that sounds like it will reduce costs by reducing electricity usage, with the side benefit of curbing light pollution. The dynamic, color-changing road paint can adjust based on the weather to warn drivers of potentially dangerous road conditions, including displaying large snowflake graphics on the road's surface to warn of ice.

Other elements of the Smart Highway include wind lights and dedicated electric vehicle lanes that use a wireless induction charging system. The press release says that some elements of the Smart Highway could become a reality within the next five years, but Designboom says Dutch drivers could see the technology on the roads as soon as next year.

Scroll down to watch a fascinating (and sadly untranslated) video demonstrating how some of these ideas work.


Show full PR text
First meters Smart Highway 'Best Future Concept' at Dutch Design Award
Roosegaarde and Heijmans are building the 'Route 66 of the Future'


Designer and innovator Daan Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure presented the first prototypes of the 'Smart Highway' during the Dutch Design Week. Using the latest techniques, they are building the first 'Smart Highways' in Europe, roads that are more sustainable, safe and intuitive. Selected 'Best Future Concept' by the Dutch Design Awards, these highways will be realized mid 2013 in the Netherlands.

Smart Highway
Instead of focusing on the car to innovate the driving experience, Daan Roosegaarde and Heijmans are innovating the highway. Innovative designs such as the Glow-in-the-Dark Road, Dynamic Paint, Interactive Light, Induction Priority Lane and Wind Light will be realized within the following five years. The goal 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.

First prototypes Glow-in-the-dark Road and Dynamic Paint
The pathways of the Glow-in-the-dark roads are treated with a special foto-luminising powder making extra lighting unnecessary. Charged in day light, the Glow-in-the-dark road illuminates the contours of the road at night up to 10 hours. Dynamic Paint, paint that becomes visible in response to temperature fluctuations, enables the surface of roads to communicate relevant and adequate traffic information directly to drivers. For example ice-crystals become visible on the surface of the road when it's cold and slippery. Although Dynamic Paint and Glow-in the-dark Road will be realized next year, the first pieces of the 'Smart Highway' are open for the public during the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

Updating the Dutch Landscape
The unique collaboration between Roosegaarde and Heijmans is a true example for the creative industry and those multinationals with a desire for innovation. The design and interactivity from Studio Roosegaarde and the specific knowledge and craftsmanship of Heijmans combine the best of both worlds. Despite their big differences, they focus on the process instead of the product and that is innovating the Dutch landscape.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      Mr E
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is pretty cool...looks like Tron cycles. I hope they start adding a blur effect when you are traveling really fast.
      Patrick Huijs
      • 2 Years Ago
      Translation: We are here by the ice crystal of dynamic paint. With this we wanted to improve the safety of the road. By giving information to the driver whenever the road surface is becoming vulnerable, dangerous and slipery. As soon as the temperature drops below the freezing point the snowflakes on the road will automatically become visible to the motorist. This dynamic paint is still only a prototype but that is not the same for all ideas that were displayed during the Dutch Design Week. "Some ideas might need two to three years but other ideas like for example the 'glowing lines' could definately be realised before the middle of next year, absolutely." As the name suggests these special lines light up in the dark. The cells charge themselves during the day and will emit light for up to 10 hours. "And without the input of any kind of energy. It is a safe product and not like radium was used in the past in wrist watches. These are crystals that in themselves are harmless and can be processed by us." In a month the first trials will take place with these glowing lines. The city of Den Bosch will get the scoop. Other ideas like the road that automatically charges electric cars will take a little more patience.
      Drakkon
      • 2 Years Ago
      But you can only drive Tron cycles.
      Bill Waller
      • 2 Years Ago
      It wouldn't last one winter here, maybe two at the most. The snow plows routinely rip chunks asphalt up as well as tear up the reflective markers in the center and edges of the roads. It's a nice and wonderful proof of concept, but I just don't see how it would be practical. Especially in a cold climate, this would be more for a temperate area where ice and snow are highly uncommon and handled with chemicals and salt rather than removal equipment.
      Toronto St. Pats
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yup Europe is far more advanced than North America. This is yet another example. But then again progress happens when you're not being held back by bible-thumping republitards.
        ThomasP
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Toronto St. Pats
        While I pretty much agree with everything you've said, you could have maybe been less inflamatory about it.
        david
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Toronto St. Pats
        What does glorified glow in the dark paint have to do with religious conservatism you imbecile? We have much more varied weather in the US than in western Europe that would over tax and shred most of systems if they were implemented. Speaking of tax, nearly half of the fuel and vehicle taxes in my state Pennsylvania and in my city of Pittsburgh goes to the eternally underfunded state employee pension system. So if we're being held back its by government scum being paid more than they're worth .
        vince
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Toronto St. Pats
        So far these are just ideas suggested by a Dutch firm that could see implementation next year. Solar powered lane markers have existed for some time, but this is taking it a step farther in terms of polish and capabilities, which is good to see, but not exactly mind blowing new technology. To suggest this is a reflection of the differences between 2 continents, which are very large and diverse, being made up of numerous states, countries, and regions is absurd. Go there, some things are better, some things are worse, a lot of things are the same.
      Classic_Engr
      • 2 Years Ago
      So simple, yet so smart.
      Ducman69
      • 2 Years Ago
      Smart highways for increasingly stupid drivers. If its -5oF outside, you are likely already informed of this by your vehicle's outside temperature monitor. If you can't figure out what conditions can form ice on the road by the time you are old enough to drive, you should be sterilized and prevented from driving in the first place and preferably deported to some mining operation on the moon. Glow in the dark lane markers are nice, but highways are expensive enough as it is and the paint already has to be reapplied rather regularly. If this is much more expensive and has to be reapplied every time there is a change to the road or just wears out from regular wear and tear, I can't see it justified in this economy. Besides, vehicle lighting is getting better and better every year. HID kits with nice projectors can even be retrofitted to older vehicles at surprisingly cheap prices.
        Miguel
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        It's -5º Celsius (41 F), not Fahrenheit.
        k.naz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        True, and the fact that some governments and local authorities don't bother fixing up highway systems due to lack of funds causes issues in the long run as well. Instead, cars should have built in night vision cameras such as the ones found on the S500, 750Li and A8 which will be much more cheaper compared to the overall price governments have to pay.
      icerabbit
      • 2 Years Ago
      Pretty cool tech. Rather then trying to cover the entire road with snowflakes, I'd like them to integrate that into the lane markers. Maybe have the short lane markers turn blue when it freezes and may lead to black ice .
      zzzzzz
      • 2 Years Ago
      A couple more innovative features that the author must have missed: If the lines are wet, or covered in real snowflakes, it's an indicator that the roads may be slippery.
        ThomasP
        • 2 Years Ago
        @zzzzzz
        Those are not missed, those are obvious. The snowflakes would be to indicate freezing temperatures which could cause black ice. Whic is not as obvious to see as a blanket of snow.
        Ducman69
        • 2 Years Ago
        @zzzzzz
        LOL!
      LifeLongCarGuy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Meh. Reflective lane dividers are simpler and they are raised from the surface, so they provide a built-in lane departure warning.
        Nemebean
        • 2 Years Ago
        @LifeLongCarGuy
        And cannot be used anywhere they get snow because the plows will just tear them off.
          Mr E
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Nemebean
          was just about say the same thing. they can barely seem to keep the top layer of asphalt on the road, let alone fancy doodads
        Jason
        • 2 Years Ago
        @LifeLongCarGuy
        They also cause tire blowouts.
      Technoid
      • 2 Years Ago
      Where have American engineers been?!? They're probably too busy milking the system, grabbing as much and as fast as they can left and right, up and down the chain--the most recent in the news: those Navy Seals trained in programs paid for by taxpayers money, then turning around to use those experiences, unauthorized by their brasses, to try to translate into personal gains with their stupid computer games association, too ovewelmed getting stoned, or too tied up getting laid off. Driving any ot the cars featured in this blog going back since its inception, whether fast or luxurious or otherwise, on these 3rd-world roadways in America--and I'm talking roads in California, forget the midwest--is a waste, simply put. Contractors, using cheap labor pool that just crossed the border, are all too mindful of lining up their pockets. Officials, from all levels of government, state, city, even federal, in charge of handing out these contracts can't possibly be all that stupid and that blind. Or can they?!? Time and again, workers could just finish putting in a new, long section of city streets, all with a nice top coat of shiny asphalt freshly spread, only to find themselves some two weeks later hurriedly dig up trenches at the intersection--on all four sides--because some idiots must've forgotten to lay down some sensors. Or something. Then they fill up the holes again, cordon off the streets durig rush hours, call out the bulldozers, and patting each other on the back saying to themselves, "It's the same thing, see..." Six months later, cars are waiting for the lights at the intersection on uneven surface, the kind that manifests itself during rainy days, dips and potholes and cracks, the dangerous kinds, start developing all along the supposedly brand new roads... This happens all over different towns, not just a couple of local places. Even worse joke for highways. Frankly, sailing on cruiseships through the Bahamas during chasing winter storm season is a whole lot smoother and much more enjoyable than driving your precious or even beat-up vehicle on these roads just about anywhere. In America! In contrast, try cruising through Europe, say, from Paris all the way down to any small town along Côte D'Azur, not just a few block strech, in your own favorite clunker at your own top-speed flight... Then you'd know what driving on clouds feels like. Smart highways in this country? That's so ... next century, perhaps--if we're lucky enough.
      Rob
      • 2 Years Ago
      What good is all that technology and cost when idiots can't stay off their cell phones while driving, or even worse, texting and driving?
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