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

Join the PH rating wars with your marks out of 10 for the article (Your ratings will be shown in your profile if you have one!)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Rate this article

Comments (85) Join the discussion on the forum

  • sanctum 31 Oct 2012

    so.. this is cheaper than reflective cat's eyes is it?

  • Ug_lee 31 Oct 2012

    Maybe a cheaper way of lighting up a road that no longer have any catseyes left on it.

    They seem to be less and less prolific on roads these days and made a massive difference to improving the safety of a road IMO. Paint that does a similar job could be great

  • jas xjr 31 Oct 2012

    i have often thought that it would be fairly simple just to paint the kerbs

  • Captain Muppet 31 Oct 2012

    No street lighting in my village. No deaths as a result.

  • 4key 31 Oct 2012

    One question, how long does the paint remain glow in the dark for? Everything od that type that i have ever seen has only ever had a life span of months.

View all comments in the forums Make a comment