Highway Road Design
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A Dutch design studio is applying the most advanced and ingenious technology to create a sustainable, safe and intuitive drive

By Brandon Gorrell

 

The Dutch design studio Studio Roosegaarde has had some pretty wild ideas. From plans for a dance floor that generates electricity from its dancers’ movement to public interactive landscape projects that respond to human behavior, it’s clear these guys aren’t afraid to tackle big concepts. And just like the engineers behind the Chevrolet Volt—who have succeeded in creating the first electric car that runs on more than just electricity—they’re always looking for eco-conscious solutions to modern design problems. The studio’s most recent project? A highway—for the future.

Still in the concept stage, here are just a few of its proposed features.

Glow-in-the-dark roads

Using energy from sunlight stored during daylight hours, glow-in-the-dark lane markers on roads will illuminate at night and communicate traffic information to drivers. Utilizing Dynamic Paint—a coating that becomes visible in response to temperature fluctuations—the road will be able to alert drivers of road conditions (for example, snow flakes become visible on the road when it’s icy), making the trip safer for all. And with glow-in-the-dark lanes that charge in the daytime and illuminate at night, the highway of the future will be more environmentally friendly, requiring less energy-intensive streetlights to guide drivers to their final destination.

Interactive light

Glow-in-the-dark lane markers won’t take care of all drivers’ lighting needs, but Studio Roosegaarde has come up with a solution for that: street lamps that save energy by turning on when a car is approaching and turning off when there are no vehicles around. Studio Roosegaarde has also suggested that interactive light will be able to guide drivers by illuminating exits as drivers approach.

Induction priority lane

Induction charging can power a car by transferring energy through an electromagnetic field that’s generated by a magnet in the road and a magnet in the vehicle. It may sound like science fiction, but it’s already being tested in Germany in buses, which may be a sign that induction vehicles will soon be a reality on a much bigger scale. Studio Roosegaarde’s induction priority lane will charge induction vehicles only, as they drive along the highway, saving non-renewable resources—and leaving gas-guzzlers in the dust.

Wind light

Supplementing the light provided by glow-in-the-dark paint and interactive streetlights, Studio Roosegaarde proposes thousands of small pinwheels placed on each side of the highway. Relying only on the energy generated by the passing of cars, wind light illuminates highway shoulders, completely off the grid. 

While these plans might sound far-fetched, Holland already has plans to test Studio Roosegaarde’s concepts on a 150-meter stretch of highway later this year. And the idea’s taken hold internationally, receiving widespread coverage and attention across tech media. With innovators like Studio Roosegaarde at the vanguard of the eco-friendly fight, our chances of a sustainable future are much better—and brighter.

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Brandon Gorrell is an editor at Thought Catalog. Follow him on Twitter: @brandongorrell.