Glowing visibility on the Smart Highway
Here’s a glowing review for pairing art, design, technology and road engineering. We especially like how visibility at night is helped by these Dutch developments. Being seen is key to reducing pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle collisions. Anything which helps light the way and keeps people safe on the roads gets our thumbs up.
Lit up by the stars
Dutch painter, Vincent Van Gogh, inspired this glowing bike path art. In homage to Van Gogh’s famed ‘Starry Night’ painted in 1889, designer Dan Roosegaard created the luminescent bike path design in 2014. Located in Eindhoven, Holland, an area where Van Gogh once lived and painted his first masterpiece, The Potato Eaters.
The glow of the Van Gogh Path was created by road engineering firm, Heijmans. Using thousands of solar-powered LED lights in blue and green, it is a test site for the technology, and part of the ‘smart highway’ opened in 2014 to mark the 125th anniversary of the death of Van Gogh. Receiving numerous awards for design and innovation since then, this is a new work of art connecting a contemporary landscape to cultural history. We also like that it has created a safer ride and special place where people want to go. We have to hand it to the Dutch who are famous for both cycling and art.
Technopower: glowing lines and greater visibility
Rotterdam-based Studio Roosegaarde continues to innovate on the road. Another Smart Highway project by the firm is ‘Glowing Lines’. Made of rechargeable LED lights which are imbedded in pavement where road paint usually is. The strip lights charge during the day and glow at night for up to 8 hours. Safety is enhanced, and so is the highway driving experience. In a video about the project, Dan Roosegaard describes it in glowing terms:
To have panes which charge at daytime, and glow at night, and make landscapes which are ‘enginuful’… and just incredibly beautiful. That is something I like to call, ‘Technopower’.
Illuminating a Smart Highway
The Dutch-led Smart Highway is a series of fascinating pavement projects aimed at making roads safer, more interactive. Dynamic Paint is one which has great potential for Canadian roads, so long as they are not snow-covered. It is paint which can literally reflect the weather on the road surface, so drivers can moderate with changing conditions.
Along with the Van Gogh Path, Glowing Lines, and Dynamic Paint, other Smart Highway projects include Interactive Light, Induction Priority Lane and Road Printer. Testing and development will help get these road innovations ready to launch internationally.
We give a five star rating to the goals of the Dutch Smart Highway program: to make smart roads using light, energy and information which interacts with the flow of traffic. Building a future of road safety from the ground up, now that is a smart highway we would like to drive.
Art and science make great partners in illumination. We hope to see roads and pathways glow at night like the stars, and offer a beautiful solution to increased visibility. In our own small way, the Trimtag Be Alert program is enhancing the visibility of the most vulnerable road users. Find out more about our customizable Be Alert program.