It's strange to think of how far cars have advanced since being invented, while the roads we drive them on have barely changed. With his Smart Highway concept, Rotterdam-based designer Daan Roosegaarde aims to move road technology deep into the future.
The proposal, selected as "Best Future Concept" this week at the Dutch Design Awards, outlines a plan for more sustainable and interactive roads that incorporate smart energy, adaptable road signs and interactive lights.
“We live in a city of endless gray concrete roads, surrounded by steel lamps. They have a huge visual impact on our city,” says Roosegaarde. “But why do they remain so rough and without imagination? Why not make them a vision about mobility, a symbol of the future?”
Among Smart Highway's innovative, future-forward elements is the Glow-in-the-Dark Road, which uses social foto-luminising powder to illuminate the contours of the path ahead. The powder charges during the day and lasts up to 10 hours at night. Meanwhile, Dynamic Paint responds to various temperature fluctuations; if the road is icy, for example, ice crystals appear. On the far right, an Induction Priority Lane gives an advantage to electric vehicles.
Construction on the Smart Highway will begin on 200 meters of road in the Netherlands in early 2013. We'll be interested to see where this road goes.