Smart Highways Win Clever Awards

Designer and innovator Daan Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure presented the first prototypes of the ‘Smart Highway’ during the Dutch Design Week last month. Using the latest techniques available, they are building the first ‘Smart Highways’ in Europe; roads that are more sustainable, safe and intuitive. Selected ‘Best Future Concept’ by the Dutch Design Awards, these highways will be prototyped in 2014 in the Netherlands. Use of these smart highways could contribute to a reduction in traffic accidents as well as reducing energy use.

Smart Highway

Instead of focusing on the car to innovate the driving experience, Daan Roosegaarde and Heijmans are innovating the highway. Innovative designs such as the Glow-in-the-Dark Road, Dynamic Paint, Interactive Light, Induction Priority Lane and Wind Light will be realized within the next five years. The goal is to make roads that are more sustainable and interactive by using interactive lights, smart energy and road signs that adapt to specific traffic situations.

First prototypes Glow-in-the-dark Road and Dynamic Paint

The pathways of the Glow-in-the-dark roads are treated with a special foto-luminising powder which could make extra lighting unnecessary in the future. Charged in day light, the Glow-in-the-dark road illuminates the contours of the road at night for up to 10 hours. Obviously, this would not be long enough for many of the northern countries in Europe. However, your humble Editor expects that further advancements will extend the effective luminance time.

Dynamic Paint; paint that becomes visible in response to temperature fluctuations, enables the surface of roads to communicate relevant and adequate traffic information directly to drivers. For example ice-crystals become visible on the surface of the road when it’s cold and slippery. This would need careful consideration during roll-out because motorists could assume that the road was not icy, when in fact, the paint had simply ran out of light.

The concept has also been awarded a prestigous Blue Tulip Innovation Award from Accenture Netherlands. Accenture presents the awards annually to recognize innovative performance. (LUXeXceL, another Dutch company from the lighting industry who produce 3-D printed optics for LED’s, also won an award at this years ceremony.)

Updating the Dutch Landscape

The unique collaboration between Roosegaarde and Heijmans is a true example for the creative industry and those multinationals with a desire for innovation. The design and interactivity from Studio Roosegaarde and the specific knowledge and craftsmanship of Heijmans combine the best of both worlds. Despite their big differences, they focus on the process instead of the product and that is innovating the Dutch landscape.

For more information, contact Studio Roosegaarde

Marieke Swinkels-Verstappen

13 Nov