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Glow-in-the-dark roads put on hold due to technical glitches

Autoblog logo Autoblog 06/05/2014 Chris Bruce
© Studio Roosegaarde



Any dreams that you may have of cruising along the Netherlands' Tron-like, glow-in-the-dark roads are ruined – for now. The pilot project to test the glimmering streets fizzled because the illumination just wasn't bright enough in many situations, and it failed at times when it was needed most.

The concept behind the shining roads is still rather ingenious. It even won the Best Future Concept at the Dutch Design Awards. The lane and edge lines use a special paint that absorbs ultraviolet light during the day and glows at night. It's supposed to offer an energy-efficient alternative to street lamps, especially in rural areas. However, the paint didn't perform well in real-world testing. The lines didn't give off a uniform amount of light, and during heavy rains, they weren't bright enough to be seen.

Still, engineering firm Heijmans Infrastructure isn't deterred by the initial problems. According to Engadget, it's working Glowing Lines 2.0 for another test on roads this summer. In the meantime, the current lines have been faded to avoid confusing drivers.

The company's goal is to eventually have a multiple types of smart highway technology. Its original plan included motion-sensing road lights to save energy and color-changing road paint that adjusted based on the weather. It even wanted to build special lanes with wireless inductive charging. Every breakthrough starts with one small step, and once Heijmans figures out the glowing road, maybe it can move forward with the rest of its futuristic plans.

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