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Transportation Technology

Futuristic Highway Will Glow In the Dark For Icy Conditions 174

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Will Oremus reports that a glow-in-the-dark highway will be installed in the Netherlands that will replace standard road markings with photoluminescent powder that charges in the daylight and glows through the night for up to 10 hours. But the new highway's most interesting feature is when the temperature drops below freezing, the road will automatically light up with snowflake indicators to warn drivers of icy conditions (video). '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,' says designer Daan Roosegaarde. 'I started imagining this Route 66 of the future where technology jumps out of the computer screen and becomes part of us.' The first few hundred meters of glow-in-the-dark, weather-indicating road will be installed in the province of Branbant in mid-2013, followed by priority induction lanes for electric vehicles, interactive lights that switch on as cars pass and wind-powered lights within the next five years. 'Research on smart transportation systems and smart roads has existed for over 30 years — call any transportation and infrastructure specialist and you'll find out yourself,' adds Emina Sendijarevick. 'What's lacking is the implementation of those innovations and making those innovations intuitive and valuable to the end-consumers — drivers.'"
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Futuristic Highway Will Glow In the Dark For Icy Conditions

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  • Re:Or.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by bmajik ( 96670 ) <> on Monday January 07, 2013 @09:43AM (#42504001) Homepage Journal

    Your car actually doesn't do this in a sufficient sense.

    When a road surface is rainy or icy, braking and steering response suffer the most. Acceleration is impacted somewhat.

    A common scenario here in North Dakota is that you set your cruise control and are moving along. Everything "feels fine". You go to change lanes or hit the brakes and you realize you are on a low-grip surface. If you know how to handle it you can sometimes make it ok. If you don't, you're in the ditch.

    Your car can tell if a wheel starts to spin when under acceleration. But acceleration is the least impacted vehicle input in poor road conditions.

    Your car can tell if the motion vector exceeds a certain threshhold and isn't lining up with the steering angle sensor (e.g. a slide is happening)

    What your car cannot tell you is that the road conditions have degraded to the point that you need to slow down, and to what speed, to have proper turning and braking capability. All your car can do is respond to loss-of-grip situations that have already happened.

    When I drive in unknown conditions I will frequently oscillate the steering wheel and feel how much resistance there is. Less resistance suggests less grip. I'll also ease on to the brake pedal to see if I can induce ABS, to help me understand where the braking limit is.

    (Remember, this is north dakota, so there's no one else around for me to upset or scare when I do this stuff :))

    I run snow tires on all my winter-driven vehicles. I cannot tell you the number of times I've been driving along the interstate, everything has been fine, and I come over a crest, and there are vehicles in the ditch everywhere. I provide test brake/steering inputs and there is _very little_ grip to be had. Anything other than the slightest/slowest input provokes loss-of-grip. And this is on proper snow tires. The people with bald all-seasons are in the ditch for a reason..

    A current car simply can't detect that until you're already sliding/skidding/spinning tires. At which point, it may be too late for the car to recover on a low-grip surface.

  • by drcln ( 98574 ) on Monday January 07, 2013 @09:45AM (#42504017)

    In the U.S. state of Virginia, Interstate 64 runs east–west through the middle of the state from West Virginia to the Hampton Roads region, a total of 298 miles (480 km). It is notable for crossing the mouth of the harbor of Hampton Roads on the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, the first bridge-tunnel to incorporate man-made islands. Also noteworthy is a section through Rockfish Gap, a wind gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains, which was equipped with an innovative system of airport-style runway lighting embedded into the pavement to aid motorists during periods of poor visibility due to fog or other conditions.
    source: []

    A lighting system within the pavement to help designate lanes automatically activated by fog sensors was installed by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to improve safety during such weather conditions.
    source: []

  • Re:Inductive field (Score:4, Informative)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Monday January 07, 2013 @10:07AM (#42504175)

    What potential health impacts?

    This is not ionizing, nor are you going to generate a lethal current in a human body. Go away nutter.

  • Re:Freezy Freakies (Score:4, Informative)

    by der_joachim ( 590045 ) on Monday January 07, 2013 @11:07AM (#42504835) Homepage
    Please note that in the Netherlands, it rarely snows more than a few centimeters. Most of that snow is tackled by road salt. Furthermore, what does happen, is rain or sleet freezing up the roads, resulting in black ice which is almost invisible in the dark. Normally, I shun warning labels instead of prudent driving, but this idea is IMHO pretty nifty.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.