The folks behind the Dutch design lab Studio Roosegaarde have come up with some outrageous ideas (a vanishing cocktail dress! A sustainable dance floor!). So you know when they partner with a construction company to conceptualize The Future Of The Highway, as they did at Dutch Design Week recently, it's going to be good. Also: weird.
But not so weird that their vision won't be realized. In mid-2013, some of the earliest concepts will be implemented on a stretch of road in Holland, then later, if all goes well, on blacktop across the rest of Europe.
Those concepts include: glow-in-the-dark roads, asphalt paint that transforms in response to road conditions, and lanes that double as electric car chargers.
Why redesign highways? "By focusing on highways instead of cars, we're innovating the Dutch landscape to make 'smart driving' possible for everyone (instead of those that can afford the latest cars)," Studio Roosegaarde's Emina Sendijarevic says over email. And if it all works out, it could be more than just a cool way to show off the road-building gadgets we have at our disposal. "It's about safety, creating awareness but also making roads energy-neutral in terms of lighting," says Studio Roosegaarde founder Daan Roosegaarde, "and most of all: creating the experience of an icon, the Route 66 of the future."
Herewith are the key features of that "Route 66 of the future":
This is a paint that becomes visible to drivers based on certain "contexts," explains Sendijarevic. When it gets icy out, white icons of snowflakes can show up on the road to warn people about the hazard, or another icon might give a heads up about an accident down the way. It's already been in use for 30 years--bathmats that change color when they're too hot for babies is one of Sendijarevic's examples--but it was "the implementation that was lacking."
SMARTER HIGHWAY LIGHTS
What if we could save power on highway lights by using them less, but also using them better? That's a big part of the project. Glow-in-the-dark portions of the highway could charge during the day, then light up at night, saving energy. The team also wants to turn off lights when cars aren't around, Sendijarevic says, or even use lights that "follow the car, chaperoning them home safely." Some of the power this would require could be snagged by cars producing wind as they zoom by, ideally putting a buzzing, traffic-fueled ecosystem in homeostasis.
CAR CHARGER LANES
One of the most out-there (and also most interesting) ideas of the project is creating what's, more or less, a gigantic car charger. (Literally. Something that charges your car.) A certain lane, called the "'Induction Priority Lane," would use magnetic fields under the lane to charge an electric car, "the same as charging your electric toothbrush," Sendijarevic says.
Prototypes of the dynamic paint and glow-in-the-dark road concepts are slated for implementation next year in Oss, North-Brabant, Holland.
Unless they find a way to prevent the smart paint from wearing away, I don't see it being too useful trying to cover the whole roadway in it. But what they could do is replace the normal line paint with smartpaint and just have the lines change colour based on weather conditions. Since we already paint lines, it wouldn't be too much extra cost.
Also, glow in the dark roads may very well attract wildlife to the area, negating any increased safety.
That's a better idea. The shoulder lane usually has a solid line. Have it turn blue for ice hazards only, I don't really see a need to have it turn another color for heat... no real "road hazards" in warm weather other than bad drivers.
It could turn red for an accident ahead though...
Not so sure about glow in the dark attracting wildlife, its possible, but I don't think probable.
To the article in general I do like the idea of lights activating on a proximity sensor, even ushering drivers to their exit if road conditions permit. But that would require a fairly empty road and you car communicating with the lighting system.
Some interesting concepts presented here.
Lest hope this comes to other countries. Indicating glaze on the road is very practical. We need smarter highways on many levels. Highways that are used better like with self driving cars. Less braking and speeding and accidents will mean much less traffic congestion.
I think instead of glow in the dark roads they should make the lines on the road out of electroluminescent tape. Its super efficient and it gives of a glow thats visible without blinding drivers. It would also be helpful in colder places that get a lot of snow because the road lines would be visible through snow.
Air transportation will kill surface transport soon. Perhaps the elite is already withholding cheap air transport.
@D13, For your pleasure, I submit to you a piece from Futurama...
Lela: Fry, activate the app that tells you what restaurants
Fry: Pause... Uh, you mean the window?
There is a time and a place for technological answers to our problems. There is also a time and place for practical, cheap, and ordinary solutions to our problems. I've NEVER gotten in my car on a bitterly cold day and not known that there was a danger of frost. The only thing that would come close would be on one of my many Christmas vacations traveling cross country back home and it wasn't that difficult to tell when the outside was cold. Anyone with half a brain and the will to drive safely will just touch their window and see how cold it is outside. So the idea about temp. sensitive paint seems ludicrous to me. Also, keep in mind that the lines actually disappear from view when road conditions are bad enough.
Now, the glow in the dark lanes might be okay, except that I've never seen a glow in the dark substance that lasted an extraordinarily long time outside in the sun. So this idea would have to have either radioactive elements or it would need electric light. Neither of which I regard as a decent idea. However, there are reflectors on California roadways that work pretty damn well. They mounted flush with the road surface and when you drive down a patch of I-15 with these things at night, you feel like a pilot landing a plane because all you see in front of you is a long stretch of runway marked out by bright little lights (reflectors).
Lastly, the highway lighting system could be easily redone with motion sensors mounted every so often. But, this would require that we change from the normal mercury, high pressure sodium, or similarly made lamps, to LED's. This would be necessary because the standard lamps need a heating up period and a cool down period. You cannot simply turn them on and off and expect them to flash on and off like a lamp in your ceiling does. The conversion to LED's would be painfully expensive and at a time when our nation is 16+ trillion dollars in debt, we don't have that kind of cash to go wasting. In fact, I suggest that we just shut off all of the street lights until we are out of debt. We don't need to be paying that electric bill to light the world.
Current global warming has more to do
with our current roads then green house gases.
Current design doubles as a Geothermal
Raising ground temperatures by factors of
up to 4 on a sunny day.
And then storing it into the ground.
It also forces limitations by design.
Rolling resistance cause from wheel contact.
And lack of energy supplies,
necessitates vehicles carry their own power
The electric car if given a track not
unlike the train.
Could see its range rival or beat the
With power supplied on the go.
No need for fuel ups.
With rail guidance we take the rubber off
and go with high efficiency contact wheels.
Energy suppliers have a even bid with oil.
Green energy or any energy will fuel it.
No matter the sector fallout.
Be it embargo or spill, the car goes on.
The transformation to Maglev and ultra
high speed will require the change.
A dedicated lane could easily be tiered to
With power supplied goodbye DC voltage.
Hello phased energy.
The use of a powered rail shrinks the
on board battery used for secondary roads.
Also the use of rail makes computer guidance
the here and now.
The economic bloom from infrastructure build.
Doubled with the new markets or expansion of
You would have what some will coin as
the great expansion.
Mister president please take note.