• 05.02.14

Dutch Glow-In-The-Dark Roads Don’t Glow So Well

In a pilot, the alternative lighting system faded in the rain.

Dutch Glow-In-The-Dark Roads Don’t Glow So Well
[Images: Courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde]

A pilot project for a futuristic method of illuminating roadways in the Netherlands shows that we still have a ways to go before “smart highways” are feasible.


The glow-in-the-dark roads envisioned by Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde and civil engineers at Heijmans Infrastructure have been in pilot testing in the town of Oss since April 10, and so far the reviews are less than glowing.

The radiant lines absorb ultraviolet light during the day and then emit a green glow for up to eight hours at night, which reduces the need for street lamps. But the radiant lines, it turns out, are sensitive to large amounts of rain and have not been producing a consistent amount of light, according to the BBC.

Heijmans said in a press statement:

As expected the ‘real life’ trial enables us to learn from the environment and users, like humidity and user experience. We will use these insights to introduce an update to the Glowing Lines 2.0 version. In the meantime we have temporarily faded out the lining to prevent any confusing situations for road users.

The glow-in-the-dark roads are only the first step in the smart highway system that Roosegaarde and Heijmans have proposed, and which also includes a dynamic paint that will communicate weather and road conditions to drivers and a lane that will charge electric vehicles as they pass. In a press release about the concept last year, the designers said their smart highway innovations would be realized within the next five years.

A new version of the glowing lines will be released this summer, according to Heijmans, and will eventually be introduced on highways across the country. Hopefully, these will be a bit more water-resistant.

[H/T: BBC]

About the author

Shaunacy Ferro is a Brooklyn-based writer covering architecture, urban design and the sciences. She's on a lifelong quest for the perfect donut.