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Traffic flows along Coast Highway 101 through San Diego Traffic flows along Coast Highway 101 through San Diego's North County beach town of Encinitas, California March 31, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake  

The Netherlands pioneers glow-in-the-dark roads

Ever wanted your drive home at night to look more like a rave? Well, the Netherlands has replaced streetlights on one-third of a mile of highway with “glow-in-the-dark” road markings that could be potential energy-savers.

Wired UK reports that the company Studio Roosegaarde has made good on a 2012 promise to turn a stretch of highway into a cool night-driving experience, where the road is lit by various lighting schemes that make the road look more light a scene from the movie Tron than reality.

“One day I was sitting in my car in the Netherlands, and I was amazed by these roads we spend millions on but no one seems to care what they look like and how they behave,” Daan Roosegaarde, the studio’s founder and lead designer, told Wired in 2012. “I started imagining this Route 66 of the future where technology jumps out of the computer screen and becomes part of us.”

Roosegaarde wants the road to eventually have weather markings that would appear on the streets under certain conditions. For example, snowflakes would appear when the temperature drops and there are ice and snow warnings.

“For now though, the stretch of the N329 highway in Oss features only the glow-in-the-dark road markings, created using a photo-luminescent powder integrated into the road paint, developed in conjunction with road construction company Heijmans,” reports Wired.

“It looks like you are driving through a fairytale,” said one Netherlands news report. For now, the project one consists of a small stretch of Dutch highway, but Roosegaarde is looking for more funding to expand his luminescent road.

The road could potentially save energy as well, but it’s unclear if the luminescent road markings would be able to weather the elements. Wired notes that the glow lasts up to eight hours when charged, but any problems with the lighting would pose more safety concerns than conventional streetlights.

“There needs to be a call to ministers all over the world—this is a problem, and we should not accept it,” said Roosegaarde. “We should create labs in the city where we can experiment and explore these kinds of solutions. Like a free zone. We want to do it safely, but just give us a park [for the smog project] and we’ll prove it to you. Be more open.”

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