Business, Economics and Jobs

The Netherlands debuts a futuristic highway that glows in the dark

If you take a nighttime drive along highway N329 in Oss, the Netherlands, it's going to be awesome.

When the sun sets over the Dutch highway, a 500 meter stretch transforms into a glow-in-the-dark highway-of-the-future, thanks to a collaboration between a Dutch design firm, Studio Roosegaarde, and Dutch civil engineering firm, Heijmans.

It's the pilot program of a larger vision by Dan Roosegaarde, the studio's founder and lead designer, to create technological advanced and interactive highways.

"One day I was sitting in my car in the Netherlands, and I was amazed by these roads we spend millions on but no one seems to care what they look like and how they behave," he told Wired in October of 2012. "I started imagining this Route 66 of the future where technology jumps out of the computer screen and becomes part of us."

Roosegaarde released a concept video for his road in January of 2013.

He imagined a road marked with photo-luminscent paint that would charge during the day and glow at night, replacing the energy and cost of streetlights.

Drive down N329 in the afternoon, and it'd look like this. 

(Studio Roosegaarde/Youtube)

Standard-issue road, right?

Not after sunset. At night, here's the strip you'd be cruising along.

(Studio Roosegaarde/Youtube)

The concept road had other features, too. Temperature-sensitive paint would light up to alert drivers that road conditions might be icy. And "induction priority lanes" would use induction coils to charge electric cars in motion.

(Studio Roosegaarde/Youtube)

The 500-meter pilot program is just a first step. Sure, it's only about 1/3 of a mile long, and it only incorporates one of Roosegaarde's planned elements: the glow-in-the-dark lane markers. But it still looks awesome. Twitter confirms it:


The future looks bright in Roosegaarde's world. It also looks cleaner. He's working on a project to use a smog vacuum in Beijing that would suck up pollution using electrostatic fields.