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The Way to the Twilight Zone? Nope, it’s the Smart Highway

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Smart Highway at N329 Route in Oss, Netherlands (c) Studio Roosegaarde
Smart Highway at N329 Route in Oss, Netherlands
(c) Studio Roosegaarde

If you find yourself at route N329 in the city of Oss in the Netherlands at night, don’t worry, you’re not on your way to the Twilight Zone. The road was painted with photoluminesecent paint along its edges to guide drivers driving in the dark. The three stripes absorb light during daytime so that it will glow bright green for eight hours at night.

The project is the brainchild of Daan Roosegard, one of his many environmental projects. It is the first of a “series of interactive road markings” that he is undertaking with Heijmans, a Dutch construction company. Next month, a luminescent bike path inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night is set to be inaugurated.  Other projects in the pipeline are roads painted with temperature-reactive paints make snowflake-shaped markings appear when temperature dips below freezing.  He has also proposed reactive traffic lights that only turn on when there is a vehicle on the road.

Still another project is an ambitious electrostatic precipitation system to be installed in a Beijing park. Once in place, it will be the world’s biggest air purifier. Not stopping there, he will set the collected soot into jewelry, but it won’t resemble the more expensive form of carbon, diamond.

But then the idea of a luminescent highway is a gem of an idea. Its not a road to nowhere, unlike the path of unsustainable dependence on fossil fuels.

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