Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transportation

First Glow-In-the-Dark Road Debuts In Netherlands 187

Posted by samzenpus
from the shine-on dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A 500 meter (0.3 mile) stretch of road in the Netherlands has opened without the standard crop of streetlights lining its perimeter. The streetlights are believed to be unnecessary since the road markings were painted on with a mix of photo-luminescent powder, which absorbs sunlight during the day and radiates a portion of that energy back at night. Whether the modified road paint can withstand harsh weather or even provide sufficient lighting given insufficient exposure to sunlight during the day remains to be seen. The project was orchestrated by Studio Roosegaarde, which in the future plans to implement weather-sensitive road markings that would inform drivers when outside temperatures drop or rise above certain levels."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

First Glow-In-the-Dark Road Debuts In Netherlands

Comments Filter:
  • waitwhat (Score:5, Funny)

    by Johann Lau (1040920) on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:08AM (#46744631) Homepage Journal

    I started imagining this Route 66 of the future where technology jumps out of the computer screen and becomes part of us.

    You took too much, man...

  • Useless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:13AM (#46744645)

    We already have retroreflective paints. Road markings and signs illuminated by headlights are clearly visible. On the other hand, some things (like animals and pedestrians) require some means of illumination at night. Streetlights are OK, but headlights are better. An animal or other obstruction will only appear as a shadow against a glowing roadway.

    • On the other hand, some things (like animals and pedestrians) require some means of illumination at night.

      Right. Also, this cant work on overcast days . I really don't see the point of it . I'd say they'd rather invest that effort on headlight technology

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Reflective paints are fine if you're driving at very moderate speeds. If you're driving with higher speeds on a long stretch of highway with oncoming traffic that potentially blinds you and doesn't allow you to use your high beam, it really helps if you can see the road stretch out in front of you and not just the short stretch illuminated by your low beam. It also builds confidence that you're not missing an unexpected turn and end up besides the road. Confidence is very important in safe driving, people t

    • Re:Useless (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 14, 2014 @04:22AM (#46745095)

      Well , just paint the animals with reflective color, too. How hard is that ? C'mon man, some common sense.

    • Re:Useless (Score:5, Insightful)

      by physicsphairy (720718) on Monday April 14, 2014 @04:57AM (#46745223) Homepage

      Maybe it's not the best for inner city roads, but on long highway stretches it would be awfully nice to be able to see the road far ahead. Especially on road with hills and curves, headlights do a fairly bad job of lighting up that reflective paint (other than what's immediately ahead) because often your car is not oriented so as to illuminate it.

      • your car is not oriented so as to illuminate it.

        That's a good point - I tend to rely on my navigation device to get some forewarning of the curve and slope of the road ahead just because on a dark and winding road there's no way to see very far ahead.

        Then again, glowing roads won't work to entirely replace this when the road winds around a hill or mountain. But more passive safety devices are still a good idea if they can help a little bit. It seems like rumble strips - they don't do anything for most pe

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Maybe it's not the best for inner city roads, but on long highway stretches it would be awfully nice to be able to see the road far ahead. Especially on road with hills and curves, headlights do a fairly bad job of lighting up that reflective paint (other than what's immediately ahead) because often your car is not oriented so as to illuminate it.

        You should never outdrive your headlights. If your lights aren't illuminating the road in general (to say nothing of the reflective line) well enough for you to drive at your present speed, you're driving too quickly and/or there is something wrong with your headlights. Otherwise, you're driving wrong. You can get away with that shit on a track, but part of driving legally on a road is always being able to see what you're doing. You are legally obligated basically everywhere to be able to see where you're d

    • Re:Useless (Score:5, Informative)

      by Woek (161635) on Monday April 14, 2014 @08:24AM (#46745921)
      First, this allows you to see how the road curves very far ahead, and without using the high beams. It works much better then reflective paint.

      Second, this is not painted on the road, it is a special strip that is embedded in the road surface. They can also send a tiny bit of current through it to intensify the glow, which is especially useful in winters. It essentially cuts the energy requirement with a factor of a few million (a number which I just made up).

      Disclaimer: I live in the Netherlands

      • In the UK, we have had "cats-eyes" since at least WW2. These are rubber blobs embedded in the road holding two glass beads that reflect your headlights back, showing the line down the centre of the road. On bigger roads, they are also used to mark the edge of the road, and on motorways, there are coloured ones (red/greeen) to show whether or not it is sensible to cross the line.

        They seem to last about 20 years, and do the job brilliantly.

        I have also seen "glow in the dark paint" before, but can't remember

        • Much of the world has reflective road studs of one kind or another, and in the UK the foreign types (eg 3M's product) tend to get used now instead of the traditional Cat's Eye because they have better reflective performance, as well as lower costs. - http://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/... [sabre-roads.org.uk]
        • by mcvos (645701)

          In the UK, we have had "cats-eyes" since at least WW2.

          We have those too. Problem is that they only reflect light that shines on them, which means you don't see them until you're pretty close. I think the idea behind these glow-in-the-dark lines is that you can see the shape of the road much further ahead.

    • Re:Useless (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@NOspaM.world3.net> on Monday April 14, 2014 @08:30AM (#46745951) Homepage

      This paint isn't retroreflective, it actually emits light. Good to see the road layout as it enters a bend from some distance away, and the exit to the bend where you headlights aren't pointing.

    • by FatAlb3rt (533682)
      We already have reflective paint.
      We already have 256k.

      Should be good enough for anybody.
    • by mikael (484)

      Maybe we could feed the animals food with extra glow in the dark genes. Maybe even the people too.

    • Streetlights are OK, but headlights are better. An animal or other obstruction will only appear as a shadow against a glowing roadway.

      Headlights are not better. Of all the directions of illumination, that from below eye level, and especially from directly ahead (as oncoming traffic's headlights are), is the least effective. Why do you think that football stadiums are floodlit from high towers and not from knee level? Aside from the fact that fixed lighting from grid power is more efficient than car headlights (in the sense of lumens per energy input) where the traffic is continuous, as in towns.

      As for obstrucions appearing "as a

    • by houghi (78078)

      You call it useless. Do you have a study to show that it is indeed useless? Or should we wait for the actual results?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    These aren't the first, they've had glowing roads in Fukushima for nye on 3 years now!

    *ducks
  • Nature (Score:4, Funny)

    by tsa (15680) on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:39AM (#46744701) Homepage

    Most animals and plants who live alongside the roads will love this. Finally they can sleep in the dark!

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Photoregulated plants don't tend to get all in a tizzy when illuminated by anything less intense than full moonlight. Anything that will is already being disrupted by headlights, which interfere with the long periods of darkness necessary for them to shift between modes.

  • by SimonInOz (579741) on Monday April 14, 2014 @03:05AM (#46744819)

    I used to live in the Netherlands, and I can confirm winters are cold and dark. Days are not very bright either. So an eight hour life (yes, I RTFA) for these very cool glowing roads is not going to cut it - nights comprise 16 hours of darkness in midwinter.
    It should work well in the summer, when days are brighter and nights shorter.

    But I think a backup is required, destroying the whole point.

    But it does look very cool, doesn't it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      Most night driving is between sunset and midnight though. For the morning hours, this isn't going to help, but cars do still have headlights so we're no worse off than before.
      • by geogob (569250)

        Yes. No one drives short before sunrise in winter.

        • by 91degrees (207121)
          That isn't what I said or even something that I remotely implied. Of course they do. So how will not having illuminated roads in the morning make this any worse for them than not having illuminated roads at all at any time?

          And how would these not working in the morning make them less useful to those who drive late at night?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The Dutch article mentioned that the paint can also be illuminated by passing electricity trough it, to cover the long, dark days. This "booster" system is also primarily running from solar power, probably using a battery but that's not explicitly mentioned.

    • 8 hours covers a lot of late night traffic. When it's dark from, say, 5pm to 7am, you can get to about midnight before the power is out. So what's left is the early morning traffic that's out of light, i.e. that has to deal with what we have already.

      Still I'd consider it a boost in safety. The chance to be lost in the side ditch of the road with nobody coming by for hours is heaps lower at 6am compared to 1am.

    • Won't the lights of the cars passing by charge the lines a bit and thus extend the duration?

    • Forget about the sunshine, assume you have enough of it.

      What about the snow? The road will have to be wiped clean every-damn-time when it snows even a little for the markings to be visible. Good thing there are no cliffs in the Netherlands.

    • by maestroX (1061960)
      Oh please. The Netherlands have a moderate climate, moderate lighting conditions.
      Move anywhere north, east or south and conditions are worse.
      Furthermore, in the west there's light emitting from greenhouses, harbors, highways (sodium-vapor) and residences.
      The Christmas trees, they are hurting my eyes.
  • Video of the road (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 14, 2014 @03:07AM (#46744837)

    Just found a video on dutch TV
    http://nos.nl/video/634091-eerste-autoweg-met-glowing-lines.html

    • by CdXiminez (807199)

      The man in the video mentions that, when daylight is insufficient to light up the lines, a tiny bit of electricity is used to make it glow.

  • by Gavagai80 (1275204) on Monday April 14, 2014 @03:08AM (#46744843) Homepage
    Those of us who don't live in cities have been driving fine at night without streetlights forever. No special paint needed. Cars have headlights.
    • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@gmailCURIE.com minus physicist> on Monday April 14, 2014 @03:29AM (#46744907) Homepage

      Those of us who don't live in cities have been driving fine at night without streetlights forever. No special paint needed. Cars have headlights.

      I'm guessing you don't actually live anywhere that has serious wear and tear on their roads, otherwise you'd know that by the time half the winter is over that the paint is already worn down to the point where it's useless. And of course, if it's raining good luck on seeing those lines at all. Luckily HID lamps have helped with this, but don't get stuck driving on any Canadian highway anywhere between the months of: January(sometimes if it's really bad, this can hit as early as early November) through June when there is: Snow, rain, slush, mud, slop, dirt, or less than 50% sunlight.

      And don't count on the shoulders to be a guide, because we don't really use them in most cases. Though if you're driving on a major highway like the 400 series(401,402,403,etc), some parts of the Trans-Canada, and a few other busy highways, we do have rumble strips.

      • by Viol8 (599362)

        Most people don't live in a country with exceptional winter weather like that. For the relatively mild winters that northern europe gets and hence the reasonable state of the roads - headlights are fine.

      • This is true, I live in California and the roads are good. Is the Netherlands that bad though?
        • by CBravo (35450)
          Not at all. We probably have the best roads in the world. Silky smooth, hardly makes noise, very well maintained. I drove through Europe a while ago from the Netherlands to Italy and the NL was the quietest. We invest a lot in infrastructure and roads are part of that. The onlly thing that is not nice is the speedbumps.

          I was in North Caroline a while ago and it reminded me of a bad stretch of Polish road. Canada is ok, given its two seasons (winter and road repair season?).
    • Those of us who don't live in cities have been driving fine at night without streetlights forever.

      Of course, y'all have significantly more accidents [google.com] than us mollycoddled city slickers, so you may want to reconsider the use of "fine" in this context.

    • You're right, of course, but the markings on a wet road can be pretty much invisible even with headlights. If this helps that, I'm all for it.
  • video of the road (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 14, 2014 @03:11AM (#46744847)

    there is a video of the road on dutch television. video of the road [nos.nl]
    It does look quite nice!

    • by Amouth (879122)

      Wish i had mod points, first useful example of the actual thing.

      They do look quite nice, and i'd love to have them where i live, and if they can get rid of the light pollution by reducing the number of street lights i'd be all for them (and willing to pay extra for it too).

      Personally i see more value in the temperature sensitive idea, i'd love to see coloration showing up on roads and bridges when the surface temps get down to freezing. Where i live we don't get a lot of snow and ice, but when we do it shu

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        if they can get rid of the light pollution by reducing the number of street lights i'd be all for them

        That, or install adequate reflectors on the streetlights. I mean, seriously, WTF.

  • by bickerdyke (670000) on Monday April 14, 2014 @03:15AM (#46744853)

    ...but the "Autobahn" in Germany never had any kind of electrical lighting (besides retroreflecting paint for the road markings) and even at night large parts of it are considered save enough to not have speed limits - even at night!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There is no speed limit for some roads, but there are still general rules about how fast you are allowed to drive (adjusting your speed to the conditions of the road, weather, etc.). You have to be able to stop in the part of the road that you can see for example, which excludes cruising along at high speeds with insufficient lights for your speed.

    • by Tom (822)

      Uh... I am german and I've driven thousands of kilometers on the Autobahn at night. While long stretches of it do in fact not have lighting, the parts in or near cities often do. And that's where even at night you get some traffic.

      But since the Autobahn has a mid-divider, there's really nothing that you need to see. You see the tail lights of cars in front of you much better in the dark anyways, and at 160 or 200 kph, a deer jumping in front of you isn't a problem of visibility.

      Much of it all is, however, d

      • I'm from Germany too, so I know the Autobahn quite well, too, but have hardly ever seen lighting there. (Except NRW) but that may vary.

        And you wish it were 3 seconds.... at 150kph you're going at 41m/s. That's 120m in 3 seconds. Headlights go 50-60m up to 100m on the right side if - IF - you have assymetric headlights.

        http://www.rechtslexikon.net/d... [rechtslexikon.net]

        • by Tom (822)

          Fernlicht goes further. At night in the countryside, you can often use it because you're literally the only car on the road.

          Or maybe that's just me because when I drive long distances at night, I make it deep in the night so there's no traffic.

          I've rarely driven through NRW, but at the northern edge to Niedersachen, around Osnabrück for example, there's definitely lights on the Autobahn. There most definitely are in Berlin, Hamburg, etc. But yes, it's mostly near and in the large cities.

    • by houghi (78078)

      This would be great in those parts of Germany that are road but not Autobahn e.g Bundesstrasse. I had NO idea where the road was in Shleswig Holstein. (Which is flatter then The Netherlands) If there were no other cars, I had my high beams on, but if there were, the sight dropped enopurnously.
      Sure there were lights at the crossings on one side, but which side?

      Also: do not forget that this is a test. Itis only 500m. They will probably be testing if it sticks to the road or if it is pulled out after a few tho

  • by hazeii (5702) on Monday April 14, 2014 @03:50AM (#46744977) Homepage

    Here in the southern UK we've had solar LED road studs for years - they are used on some A roads and mark line dividers, road edges and turn-offs in place of the usual cats-eyes. Work pretty well too (though I find them a bit 'stroby', like some vehicle brake lights).

    • Yep, I remember the first ones installed near where I live were removed because they allegedly caused accidents due to drivers being distracted by them, because unlike regular cats' eyes, they're visible in the rear view mirror.
    • Mainly because they don't work as well as is claimed. Having a couple of dots of light every few metres isn't nearly as clear as having glowing road lines. I suppose however in their favour the eyes last much longer.

      Another issue however with cats eyes is the effect they have on tyres. Its conveniently never mentioned by the govn but driving over hard lumps of metal in the road - even if they do squash down a bit - at high speed over the years when changing lanes will wear out your tyres faster and can I su

  • by BetterThanCaesar (625636) on Monday April 14, 2014 @04:54AM (#46745213)

    A simpler solution would be to just let all the genetically engineered, glow-in-the-dark lab animals out in the wild. The roadkill will light up the roads.

  • by Triv (181010)
    Forgive a potentially stupid question, but how is this going to work with snow on the ground?
    • Hahaha, snow in Netherlands. Doesn't happen very often and when temperatures approach freezing they put salt on the roads before there even is that 1cm of snow. I know, terribly overorganized.....
    • by careysub (976506)

      A snow covered road is unsafe to drive on for the general public (no 4-wheel drive and no snow tires/chains) - so removing the snow is generally a very high priority (plows and salt). The times when snow is covering the strip will be rare.

  • Light Pollution (Score:2, Interesting)

    by barakn (641218)

    Seeing as how all of the light is directed upward, this adds to light pollution, which some people blame a lot of problems on: http://darkskyinitiative.org/ [darkskyinitiative.org]

    • this adds to light pollution

      Assuming street lights are removed, does the upward light from these strips exceed the reflected light from the streetlights?

  • This blog extolling Dutch road design innovation [aviewfromt...lepath.com] is nonetheless quite dismissive of the "glowing paint" idea, and mentions the use of glass bead retroreflectors (as in the UK) as a much better idea. It makes a good case.

  • Instead of using luminescent paint for the lines, why can't we imbed piezoelectric crystals into the tarmac that would generate light from the mass of the vehicle. That way you'd see this glow where the cars are.

  • Note to self: When trying to sell a product, probably should not associate it with "radioactive".

    > Roosegaarde told Wired.co.uk that Heijmans had managed to take its luminescence to the extreme—"it's almost radioactive", said Roosegaarde

  • "Whether the modified road paint can withstand harsh weather or even provide sufficient lighting given insufficient exposure to sunlight during the day remains to be seen"
    So the standard US policy of making a 1 mile test strip didn't quote make it over to the Netherlands? They just threw it on 500 miles and said let's see if it works? Genius.

The 11 is for people with the pride of a 10 and the pocketbook of an 8. -- R.B. Greenberg [referring to PDPs?]

Working...