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Glow-In-The-Dark Highways Open In The Netherlands

The smart highway pilot is over, and the plan is to take the system international.

After months of pilot testing, a glow-in-the-dark smart highway in the Netherlands has finally gone public in the Dutch city of Oss, and there are plans to expand the technology to other highways in the Netherlands and internationally.

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Glowing Lanes is a collaboration between Dutch engineering company Heijmans and Daan Roosegaarde, a tech-loving artist and designer whose previous work includes Intimacy 2.0, a dress that becomes transparent when the wearer gets aroused. The glow-in-the-dark lane markers are intended to increase road visibility in a more energy-efficient way than traditional street lighting. Photoluminescent paint charges during the day and slowly emits light over the course of eight hours during the evening.

After a few technical challenges (an early version of the markers didn’t fare so well in the rain), the final system has been installed, and according to Studio Roosegaarde, the kinks have been worked out, and initial reports of the paint fading were “overstated.”


“This was part of any normal learning process,” according to an email from the studio’s PR, and “now the project is ‘matured.'”

But not to the point where it’s no longer a novelty. According to the email from Studio Roosegaarde, the glowing highway caused a minor traffic jam last night as people rushed to look at it.

Roosegaarde-Van Gogh Bicycle Path Heijmans

The glowing lines are part of a larger vision for smart highways in the Netherlands. In November, Studio Roosegaard will launch a glowing bicycle path inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night along a historic cycling route in the town of Nuenen, where Van Gogh lived and worked for a period. Roosegaarde has also been asked to create a smart highway design for Afsluitdijk–an almost 20-mile-long dike that connects North Holland to the province of Friesland across the water–and according to his studio, there are plans in the works to launch the glowing lanes in China and Japan as well.

Check out our previous coverage of Studio Roosegaarde’s Smart Highway system here and here.

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.

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