Daan Roosegaarde's pilot Smart Highway
is a Dutch road illuminated with solar power


News: the first glow-in-the-dark road of Daan Roosegaarde's Smart Highway project has opened in Oss, the Netherlands (+ movie).

Glowing Lines Smart Highway by Daan Roosegaarde

Glowing Lines uses photo-luminescent paint to mark out the edges of the road, and is the first of five concepts to be realised from Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde's Smart Highway project – designed to make highways safer while saving money and energy.

Glowing Lines Smart Highway by Daan Roosegaarde

Developed with infrastructure firm Heijmans, the paint absorbs solar energy during the day then illuminates at night.

Glowing Lines Smart Highway by Daan Roosegaarde

"Here the landscape becomes an experience of light and information," said Studio Roosegaarde in a statement. "As a result this increases visibility and safety."

Glowing Lines Smart Highway by Daan Roosegaarde

The lines are now installed along the N329 route in Oss for an initiative called Road of the Future. Three glowing green lines run along each side of the dual carriageway and illuminate every night.

Rooegaarde described driving along the section of road at night as "going through a fairy tale".

Glowing Lines Smart Highway by Daan Roosegaarde

The project was first announced at Dutch Design Week 2012, and has since undergone a series of tests to gauge durability and user experience.

It was presented by Roosegaarde at the Design Indaba conference in Cape Town in 2013 and received an INDEX: Award later the same year.

Glowing Lines Smart Highway by Daan Roosegaarde

Next month, the designer aims to launch the next stage in the project – a light-emitting bicycle path designed as a contemporary interpretation of Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh's painting Starry Night.

Glowing Lines Smart Highway by Daan Roosegaarde

This will form part of the historic Van Gogh route in Nuenen, where the post-impressionist painter once lived and worked, to give cyclists the opportunity to experience a modern version of this painting in an innovative landscape of light.

Glowing Lines Smart Highway by Daan Roosegaarde

Roosegaarde's other Smart Highway proposals include temperature-reactive paints that will indicate to drivers when roads are icy, interactive street lamps that come on as vehicles approach then dim as they pass by and "wind lights" powered by the air from passing vehicles.

  • Great idea

    Will they fade over time?

  • guest

    Will they fade?

  • Jeroen van Lith

    Beautiful and practical.

  • Brilliant idea!! Beautiful and sustainable.

  • prostovila

    It it said to be turned off because it’s not rainproof.

  • Charles K

    So happy it’s actually happening. Fantastic work. It will definitely change the landscape of roads to come.

  • Pekinees

    Gimme, gimme gimme darkness!

  • Pekinees

    Gimme, gimme, gimme darkness.

  • Rae Claire

    An imaginative start to something we will all take for granted in a few years. Probably not the snowflakes, though, but something simpler to indicate icy roads. Definitely thinking in the right direction, even though there will be bumps to navigate.

  • Erica

    Fascinating and innovative. This is something that should be welcomed by numerous countries.

  • Jon

    I wonder if it will affect animals in any way?

  • Jan Domein

    Actually, the idea of luminescent road paint is almost a century old – patented in Switzerland, 1934. During WW2, the idea was used in bunkers and air-raid shelters (both in Germany and the UK). Of course, in those days the (radioluminescent) paint still was (mildly) radio-active; but nowadays there are safer radioluminescent and phosphorescent paints. They have been used for decades to mark escape paths, for example in aircraft and tunnels.

    The “glowing lines” experiment in Oss initially proved unsuccessful (after only two weeks, water proved to be a problem) but an improved version was installed in October 2014. This apparently now works better, but no one usually mentions the fact that these “glowing lines” need electric power to work… they do not save energy.