And even if you live in one of those wonderful developments that’s close to everything, inevitably, most people will find themselves travelling on a winter road sometime during the cold season.
So while drivers put on their snow tires and prepare themselves to brave the slippery winter roads for the next few months, consider what the Netherlands is doing to make this seasonal challenge easier: glow in the dark highways.
Yep, that’s right. By mid-2013 the Dutch country will begin installing illuminated weather indicators on many of its roads.
“The Smart Highway by Studio Roosegaarde and infrastructure management group Heijmans won Best Future Concept at the Dutch Design Awards, and has already gone beyond pure concept,” reads an article on Wired.co.uk. “The studio has developed a photo-luminising powder that will replace road markings – it charges up in sunlight, giving it up to ten hours of glow-in-the-dark time come nightfall.”
Special paint will also be used to paint markers like snowflakes across the highway’s surface, and when temperatures fall to a certain point, the images will become visible, indicating that the surface is probably slippery.
The “technology” is basically the same thing that beer companies use to show you if your can or bottle is chilled properly, except glow in the dark highways are about safety and energy-efficiency – not the satisfying taste of a cold adult beverage.
“The idea is to not only use more sustainable methods of illuminating major roads, thus making them safer and more efficient,” the Wired.co.uk article continues, “but to rethink the design of highways at the same time as we continue to rethink vehicle design. As Studio Roosegaarde sees it, connected cars and internal navigation systems linked up to the traffic news represent just one half of our future road management systems – roads need to fill their end of the bargain and become intelligent, useful drivers of information too.”
The Netherlands plans to follow the glow in the dark highway plan with priority induction lanes for electric vehicles, interactive lights that switch on as cars pass and wind-powered lights within the next five years.
For more on this, be sure to read the Wired.co.uk piece here.