Glow in the dark roads will become reality in an area of southern Holland next year, following interest from the country’s biggest road builder in a group of Dutch artists’ special luminous paint.
The stretch of road to be used as the experimental test bed will have lanes and carriageway extremes marked out with glowing paint.
There will also be a reactive covering for the tarmac that reveals snowflake graphics when the temperature drops below a given point, warning motorists of danger from a lower grip surface, possibly involving ice.
The concept was created through Dutch Studio Roosegaarde in response to budget cuts that meant local councils were turning off streetlights in a bid to save money.
Speaking to PistonHeads, head of the group’s technical department Peter De Man commented, “How many more traffic injuries will there be because of the light turn-off? Essentially, how much is a person’s life worth?
“We as artists don’t agree with that, so we wanted to do something positive.”
Carriageway constructor Heijmans got involved with the project and is now experimenting with the paint to ensure it remains glowing for as long as the longest hours of darkness recorded in northern Europe – that and testing that the paint doesn’t come off, of course.
The glow in the dark covering needs to last between five and 10 years and works through absorbing the sunlight, charging the special compound in the paint and releasing a luminescent glow during the night. The concept is similar to glow in the dark markings on some wristwatches for example.
Given the UK is subject to the same streetlight switch off, the paint could theoretically find its way on to the nation’s roads.
A recent survey by Halfords showed 26 of England’s 27 county councils have flicked the switch on their region’s streetlamps, some being turned off as early as 8pm, with darkness lasting until 5.30am.