Smart Roads To Go With Those Smart Cars

Dutch engineers are working on several ways to modernize Europe's highways, including lanes that change color in bad weather and charge electric cars while they're in motion.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

The Smart Highway, a concept created by Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde and the civil engineering firm Heijmans Infrastructure, recently received a Dutch Design Award for its innovative approach towards modernizing Europe's highways. The plan doesn't call for completely new roads; instead it offers a variety of tools that make driving safer and more efficient. Among these are "Dynamic Paint," which would give drivers a visual indicator when roads become icy; another type of paint that, when charged with sunlight during the day, would glow at night; and an "Induction Priority Lane" that would charge the batteries of electric cars as they drive by.

What's the Big Idea?

Since the invention of asphalt in the late 19th century, the roads we drive on have remained largely the same. Roosegaarde believes they're overdue for a redesign. "[W]hy do [roads] remain so rough and without imagination? Why not make them a vision about mobility, a symbol of the future?" According to experts, the dynamic paint concept is fairly doable, but a self-charging road would be more difficult to implement due to the increased need for expensive and high-demand materials like lithium, among others.

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