News: Luminescent paint lights the way on dark roads in Netherlands

New technology does away with streetlamps

Glowing lines could replace street lights or be used in areas where there are none

ROADS THAT glow in the dark and don’t require street lights have arrived after a 500m stretch of highway using an innovative paint was opened in the Netherlands.

Studio Roosegaarde, the Dutch company behind the idea says the photo-luminising” paint, which absorbs solar energy during the day and releases it to make the road visible at night, could be applied to existing surfaces at minimal cost. Drivers still need headlights, but the glowing green hue provided by the paint is designed to make unlit routes safer.

“It is similar to the technology found on glow-in-the-dark kids’ toys,” said Daan Roosegaarde, the company founder. “We are just using it on a larger scale. This technology is both safe and far more environmentally friendly than streetlights.”

Sections of roads in Holland were earmarked for trials at the end of 2012 but the project is now being piloted on the road ahead of an official launch later this month. The trial stretch is part of the N329 in Oss, approximately 100km south east of Amsterdam.

Roosegaarde’s company is also working on a paint to warn drivers of icy conditions. Temperature-sensitive crystals in the paint would display snowflakes when the road surface reached freezing point.

The City of London has already shown interest in the idea of luminescent paint, according to Roosegaarde. With many other local authorities dimming streetlamps to save money, it could be the answer to budget woes.