Earth Day News: Just outside the Dutch city of Oss is a 500-meter stretch of highway that glows in the dark. Like a set from a sci-fi film, the photo-luminescent road markings illuminate the lanes with an otherworldly emerald light.
The technology is part of interactive artist Daan Roosegaarde’s vision to bring innovative, sustainable designto everyday infrastructures. In a partnership with Dutch engineering firm Heijmans, he created a revolutionary paint with the ability to absorb daylight for energy, and radiate an eye-catching hue at night.
Heijmans and Roosegaarde hope the new development will provide an alternative to costly, energy-exhausting streetlights.
The pilot project is just one element of the group’s Smart Highways venture. The award-wining scheme includes induction lanes that charge electric cars, and a temperature-reactive paint that will appear on the tarmac as oversized snowflakes in icy conditions.
For now, however, the team is waiting for paint to dry: literally.
"Glowing Lines is a 'dare project,' said Jessica Bookelmann from Heijmans, "in which research is done into the road of the future." In addition to concerns regarding the paint’s limited energy capacity (8 hours in a region that sees more than 16 hours of night during the winter) they are also eager to test its resistance to skids and the country’s notably wet weather.
A 2.0 version of the luminous lines, Bookelmann says, is already underway.
Melanie Lieberman is the editorial intern at Travel + Leisiure.