Imagine driving down a road at night without street lights with the light-emitting road guiding your way. As the temperature outside drops the road starts to reveal images of ice crystals, signaling to you, the driver, that conditions are now icy and slippery. This futuristic concept may soon be a reality as Dutch design firm Studio Roosegaarde and the engineers at Heijmans Infrastructure team up to develop “Smart Highways” – a design agenda for interactive, sustainable and safe roads. The concept won the two firms Best Future Concept at the Dutch Design Awards 2012. Join us after the break for more.
The Smart Highway uses a variety of technological innovations to develop roads that use light, energy and road signs to adapt to environmental and traffic situations. The design ideas feature a glow in the dark road, dynamic paint, interactive light, induction priority lanes and wind light.
Studio Roosegaarde’s images illustrate the different technologies at work. While some remain a mystery, the first meters of Smart Highway will be realized in the Netherlands in mid 2013. This will include glow in the dark roads, which are treated with a special foto-luminising powder making extra lighting unnecessary. The powder charges in the sunlight and provides up to 10 hours of luminescence. Dynamic paint, which responds to temperature fluctuations, will reveal icy, slippery, or safe road conditions with patterns and textures determined by the designers.
This comprehensive strategy to make the vast stretches of asphalt and concrete more efficient is a step in the right directions. Besides simply moving people, maybe they can also be developed to harvest, store and distribute energy while creating safer environments for drivers and the wildlife that often surrounds highways. Check out what other designers are doing for our urban future: BIG’s proposal and Höweler + Yoon Architecture’s winning design for the Audi Urban Future Award.
Via Architect Magazine; Will Smart Technologies Shape Future Highways by Blaine Brownel