We talk a lot about changing cars and transitioning to alternative fuels – but what about changing our roads? Dutch design firm Studio Roosegaarde and Heleen Herbert from Heijmans Infrastructure have an idea that will be breaking ground in the Netherlands in 2013 – intelligent highways.
Cars are using alternative fuels or getting better miles per gallon; cars are getting safer, and car manufactures are adding gadgets to the interiors. Meanwhile America’s infrastructure is a mess. Roads are crumbling, bridges are unsafe, and the passenger rail system is in need of a revamp.
The award winning Netherlands highway design plan is to create smart highways through smarter transportation research. The plan calls for a number of improvements:
1. Glow-in-the-dark roads; the lines on the roads would be painted in a glow in the dark powder that would keep a “charge” for ten hours.
2. Dynamic paints; the paint would activate only during certain driving conditions so that the message matches the hazardous climate and is active only during those conditions. Think an indicator that appears on the road is there is a patch of black ice.
3. Interactive lights; think of this like a motion light on the road that would turn on as a car approaches. This saves on energy when the road is empty.
4. Wind powered lights; street lights that receive some power through wind gusts.
5. An electric priority lane that would charge your electric vehicle (EV) as you drove.
These intelligent highways are not only safer for drivers and embrace EV but they save on resources too – which helps everyone in that society. When or if the U.S. will get such a highway system is anyone’s guess; but there is some comfort to be found in just knowing that the innovation is out there.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison