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.
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.
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.