A few years back, Roosegaarde and the infrastructure management group Heijmans entered the Smart Highway concept into the Dutch Design Awards, taking home the Best Future Concept Award. The vision included illuminated lane lines, weather sensing markings that illuminate to warn drivers of slippery icy conditions, EV priority lanes that charge your car while you drive, and motion-sensing lights that are powered by wind or vehicle-induced drafts.
For now the only portion that has officially commenced is the installation of illuminated lane lines along part of the N329 Highway in Oss. The luminescent paint can maintain the almost radioactive-green light for up to eight hours after a day of charging, but the paint has not been fully evaluated in real world testing for durability.
As with any game-changing idea, there will be obstacles. Roosegaarde claims that the project has been attempting to cut through the government sanctioned red tape for months. While governmental hang-ups are hopefully only a matter of time, the Smart Highway designers have to figure out what to do when the sun is hidden away by clouds. Furthermore, with up to 16 hours between sunset and sunrise, 8 hours of highway illumination may not cut it during the long winters.
As ambitious as these ideas sound, the technology is for the most readily available, and the final pieces can be put together in the coming years. It’s a much simpler plan than the solar-powered highway projects that have also been published. The push toward sustainable energy can be seen around Europe, as EV sales soar and renewable energy efforts increase. If these projects prove to be successful, the team hopes to continue through Europe, as well as developing countries like India, where power outages are common, but street lamps aren’t.
“Change, like sunshine, can be a friend or a foe, a blessing or a curse, a dawn or a dusk.”
William Arthur Ward