Glowing Highway of the Future

Glowing Highway of the Future

In a small town southwest of Amsterdam, there lies a stretch of road with no streetlights. There would be nothing weird in this, however, along some 4.500m (15.000ft) of the Highway N329, cars are following stripes of green pain, that is illuminating the edges of the road. It looks like airfield landing strip. Daan Roosegaarde, the designer who is responsible for this, calls it “glowing highway of the future”.

This project is in progress for several years now. Roosegaarde and his team of Dutch designers are trying really hard to make it a reality. Glowing highway N329 is the pilot project for this ambitious vision of replacing passive infrastructure with smart roads, that can communicate with drivers. He really is thinking big, such as roads that can charge electric cars and paint, that can change color to alert drivers to icy conditions. His argument is very solid. Hie said, that when cars are getting smarter, so should the infrastructure that can support them.

“The road industry is one of the most conservative industries out there,” he says. “But I love them because they determine what a city looks like much more than the cars do. In a weird way, nobody cares about them. I think that should change.”

Glowing Highway N329

Glowing Highway N329

This project was introduced for the first time back in 2012. Since then Roosengaarde is working with Dutch company Heijmans to create a luminous paint. He doesn’t want to reveal details, how the paint is made (you can’t really blame him), but he claims, that this paint will last up to 8 hours after being charged by the sun. In case of unpleasant weather conditions (reasonable concern in Netherlands) the roadways can be charged also using solar panels.

First glowing smart highway video presentation:

There are also places, that showed interest in this new technology. Tokyo has expressed interest in bringing this roads to the city for Olympic games in the year 2020. No surprise there. The glowing roads are amazing to look at and they are also tool for building smarter infrastructure. For now, the price is higher than traditional street lighting.


To Roosegarde, this idea of combining physical world with technology is inevitable and this glowing roads are not only one on his list. He is also floated with proposals for replacing street lights with bioluminescent trees (glowing plants). For Roosegaard, the city is his playground and his laboratory. He does not have any limitations, when it comes to making (or trying to make) life nicer. And I am talking about the guy, who is building massive vacuum cleaner,to suck the smog out of Bejing park.

Bioluminescent Tree

Bioluminescent Tree

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Michaela Miklusak

Michaela Miklusak is deputy editor of and big technology enthusiast. Michaela now lives in Singapore, where she studies System Engineering and Informatics.

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