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Why Can't We Have Glow-in-the-Dark Highways Like the Netherlands?

Why Can't We Have Glow-in-the-Dark Highways Like the Netherlands?

glow-in-the-dark roads in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is experimenting with photoluminescent road markers that light up at night, among other innovations.

Screenshot / YouTube

It's one thing for the rest of the world to have way cooler trains than us. America has chosen car culture, for better or worse. But now comes word that the Netherlands is building way awesomer highways, while ours are stuck in the 20th Century. The Netherlands! If this isn't a wake-up call for the United States to invest more in infrastructure, I don't know what is. (OK, maybe this.)

Wired UK reported in October that the Dutch design firm Studio Roosegaarde and infrastructure management group Heijmans have come up with a "smart highway" concept that will replace standard road markings with photoluminescent powder that charges in the daylight and glows through the night. When the temperature drops below freezing, the road will automatically light up with snowflake indicators to warn drivers of possible ice, sort of like the Coors beer cans that turn blue when they're extra cold.

Whether any of that will actually make drivers safer remains to be seen. (Personally, I'd rather see these guys collaborate with Coors on a special paint that makes cars glow in the dark when their drivers are full of alcohol.) The Netherlands is wisely starting small, with a pilot project in the province of Brabant scheduled to begin later this year. But those are only the first two stages of the grand Dutch plan to put our highways to shame. The next steps include windmills that light up as cars pass by, and "induction lanes" that would charge electric cars while they drive.

The video below offers a rough illustration of what this might look like. Even if it turns out not to work as seamlessly as the video suggests, the innovative spirit behind the concept is admirable—and sorely missing from U.S. infrastructure planning. The design firm behind the project says it would like to bring the concept to the United States eventually, but Americans shouldn't hold their breath. Current levels of infrastructure spending are barely sufficient to maintain our "D" grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers and our 23rd-place global ranking from the World Economic Forum.

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Tags: Brabant, Netherlands, drive, glow-in-the-dark, highways, photoluminescent, safety, snowflakes


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Comment by Henriette Matthijssen on January 7, 2013 at 5:25pm

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It is the Ministry of NSearch that all inherit the Kingdom of God

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law....

Now the works of the flesh are evident, 

which are adultery fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,

idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies,

outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy,

murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like;

of which I (Paul the Apostle) tell you beforehand,

just as I also told you in time past, that those who 

practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering,

kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control,

against such there is no law. Those who are Christ's

have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Let us not become conceited, provoking one another,

envying one another.

Galatians 5:18-26

{Sorcery: "Pharmakia;" Primarily mentioned as one of the "works of the flesh." In "sorcery" the use of drugs. Blue Letter Bible. Galatians 5:20}

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