Glow-in-the-dark roads coming

Glow-in-the-dark road markings will become a reality in a small corner of Europe from next year after a bunch of Dutch artists got the country's biggest road builder interested in their clever paint.

The test-bed stretch of road in southern Holland will also feature a reactive paint covering the tarmac that reveals snow-flake graphics when the temperature drops below a certain point to warn motorists of possible ice danger.

Studio Roosegaarde told PistonHeads they developed the paint in response to budget cuts that meant local councils were switching off street lights to save money (sounds familiar).

Magic snow flakes? Now that's trippy
Magic snow flakes? Now that's trippy
“They were asking, how many more traffic injuries will there be because we turn off the lights? Essentially, how much is a person's life worth?" said head of the technical department, Peter De Man. "We as artists don't agree with that, so we wanted to do something positive."

Their big coup was getting Dutch roadbuilder Heijmans Infrastructure involved, who is now testing the paint to make sure it actually stays glowing for the length of a northern European night and doesn't rub off. "It needs to last five to 10 years," said De Man (nicknamed 'You', or should be).

He says, yes, it'll cost more, but then if councils are making substantial savings on the light switch-off then they won't mind paying over the odds for the safety of glowing road markings, or so the theory goes.

It could even get used over here, given we're being subjected to the same mass street-lamp switch-off. A survey done by Halfords (no, we're not sure either) released Monday showed that all but one of England's 27 county councils have either turned off or are dimming up to a million street lamps, starting as early as 8pm in some areas, and lasting until 5 to 5.30am.

So there you - the artistic community getting creative with roadside furniture in response to budget cuts. Who would have thought? Said De Man: "We feel nobody else is doing it, we feel it's the job of the artist to shake it up."

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (85) Join the discussion on the forum

  • GadgeS3C 05 Nov 2012

    Nice idea but nothing radically new.

    As others have posted you can get very good results from current road marking technology with glass microspheres etc.

    Trouble is they cost more than the cheapo crap so you get poor markings that wear out in a short time as they save money from this years budget.

    Can't see that changing.

  • German 05 Nov 2012

    Great idea, but I still fail to understand why so many roads in the UK (including Motorways?!?) are lit....My car has lights on the front, when it gets dark I turn them on. Fair play around houses/in town, but lighting all those roads must cost a fortune, surely?

  • Renny 02 Nov 2012

    Captain Muppet said:
    Freakuk said:
    So what happens when we have a few inches of snow? no sunlight hits them and they won't reflect through the snow?
    They'll work exactly as well as the current road markings in snow, except you won't be able to see the snowflake markings that warn you of low temperatures.
    If you don't realise snow on the road is probably slippery, you shouldn't be driving

  • TheHeretic 01 Nov 2012

    How will it fare in wet weather?

  • marcosgt 01 Nov 2012

    sanctum said:
    so.. this is cheaper than reflective cat's eyes is it?
    Probably, just run a vehicle down the road with a bucket and a wheel behind it.

    Compare that the digging up sections and sticking in cat's eyes... Seems obvious which would be cheaper to me...


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