Blog: Smarter Roads, Safer Driving?
In the last Tiger Blog we brought you news from the USA where Google is leading the way in the development of self-driving cars, bringing with it a potential quantum leap in road safety and mobility access.
This week we’ve again been scouring the world’s media and our search took us to the Netherlands, where the application of more new technology in 2013 may bring more road safety gains for drivers. What’s the project? Well, after last week’s look at smart car design, this week we’re talking smart ROAD design.
The Smart Highway is an award winning concept from a Dutch design firm, Studio Roosegaarde, and Heijmans Infrastructure. Rather than taking cars as the innovation focus, the Smart Highway project looks at the possibilities of improving the safety and sustainability of roads themselves. The innovations that are to be initially tested in the province of Brabant are based on the application of two different ideas.
The first is particularly relevant given the recent economic and environmental pressures on UK authorities to turn off or dim street and motorway lights. It involves the use of a photo-luminising powder that will be used to create “glow-in-the-dark” road markings that “charge” during daylight hours to produce up to ten hours of night time benefit.
The second initiative involves the creation of an “interactive” road surface using special paint that reacts to its surrounding conditions. In the Dutch example we may see giant snowflakes painted on to roads that become visible only when the temperature falls below freezing, providing an indication to drivers of potential slippery conditions.
Other ideas in the pipeline from the same design studio? Work is being undertaken on developing priority lanes for electric vehicles, interactive lights that turn on as cars drive past them and wind-powered lights. Watch this space!
We’re always interested in any initiative that may bring safety improvements to our roads and help bring down both road casualties and car insurance costs. If you find yourself anywhere near the province of Brabant in a year’s time and happen to see this technology in action, do let us know what you think of it.