开车的盆友享福了，会发光的公路，开车不再无聊，一路都可欣赏夜光美景——荷兰设计师研发出节能感光粉末，智慧型公路将在夜晚闪露美丽光芒，预计到2013年年中，荷兰将会出现能在夜幕笼罩下闪闪发光，而且还会提醒路况的智能公路。（A smart-road design that features glow-in-the-dark tarmac and illuminated weather indicators will be installed in the Netherlands from mid-2013.资料源自《Netherlands Highways Will Glow in the Dark Starting Mid-2013》）
智能公路的概念，出自于Daan Roosegaarde的设计，他告诉Wired.co.uk：＂有一天，我坐在自己的车子里看着驶过的道路，心里却惊讶于：荷兰花了数百万修建公路，但似乎没有人会去关心公路长什么样并且它们是如果为人们服务的 。我开始想象这条在电脑中规划的66号高科技、智能公路能“嗖”的一下变为现实并真正成为我们生活的一部分。＂
“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,” the designer behind the concept, Daan Roosegaarde, told Wired.co.uk. “I started imagining this Route 66 of the future where technology jumps out of the computer screen and becomes part of us.”
The Smart Highway by Studio Roosegaarde and infrastructure management group Heijmans won Best Future Concept at the Dutch Design Awards, and has already gone beyond pure concept. The studio has developed a photo-luminising powder that will replace road markings — it charges up in sunlight, giving it up to 10 hours of glow-in-the-dark time come nightfall. “It’s like the glow in the dark paint you and I had when we were children,” designer Roosegaarde explained, “but we teamed up with a paint manufacturer and pushed the development. Now, it’s almost radioactive”.
Special paint will also be used to paint markers like snowflakes across the road’s surface — when temperatures fall to a certain point, these images will become visible, indicating that the surface will likely be slippery. Roosegaarde says this technology has been around for years, on things like baby food — the studio has just upscaled it.
The first few hundred metres of glow-in-the-dark, weather-indicating road will be installed in the province of Branbant in mid-2013, followed by priority induction lanes for electric vehicles, interactive lights that switch on as cars pass and wind-powered lights within the next five years.
The idea is to not only use more sustainable methods of illuminating major roads, thus making them safer and more efficient, but to rethink the design of highways at the same time as we continue to rethink vehicle design. As Studio Roosegaarde sees it, connected cars and internal navigation systems linked up to the traffic news represent just one half of our future road management systems — roads need to fill their end of the bargain and become intelligent, useful drivers of information too.
“Research on smart transportation systems and smart roads has existed for over 30 years — call any transportation and infrastructure specialist and you’ll find out yourself,” Studio Roosegaarde communications partner Emina Sendijarevic told Wired.co.uk. “What’s lacking is the implementation of those innovations and making those innovations intuitive and valuable to the end-consumers — drivers. For this, a mentality change needs to take place within a country and its people, but also within a company such as Heijmans.
“This is a story that goes beyond the ‘Smart Highway’ as such — it’s about the fact that Heijmans and Roosegaarde are not going to wait any longer for innovations to find their way through the political system, but will start building this highway now.”
All together, the studio has around 20 ideas that will eventually be rolled out and it has had inquiries from countries across the globe — “India is really keen on it; they have a lot of blackouts there, it would be hallelujah to them”.
Roosegaarde also hopes to take his designs to the US west coast, where companies like Google already have autonomous vehicles driving round their campuses: “It amazes me that most innovation in the west coast is screen based — I always imagined that technology jumping out of our screens and becoming part of our environment. It’s incredibly important we keep imagining what our reality is going to look. A lot of people have told me along the way that what I wanted could not be done, and it’s my job to prove them wrong.”
The Roosegaarde design promise comes as UK authorities announce that lights on motorways, residential streets and footpaths will be turned off or dimmed from as early as 9pm to save money (hundreds of thousands of pounds, in some cases) and to meet green targets.
Some councils are, however, taking on the burden of installing new lights with dimmers, the cost of which will mean they will need to wait four to five years before they recoup the money — by which time, they could have conserved cash for more efficient and safer ways to save on lighting costs. A Sunday Telegraph report has also revealed that nearly 5,000km of motorways and trunk roads in England are already unlit, 75km have their lights switched off between midnight and 5am and 73 percent of 134 councils surveyed switch off or dim lights, or plan to. Fully switching the lights off on major roads saved the Highways Agency just ?400,000 in 2011.
Paul Watters, head of roads policy at the AA, told the Telegraph: “We do know that most accidents happen in the dark. It’s also comforting for people, especially if they arrive back from somewhere in the night, when they have got a late train. There are also suggestions that it increases crime. So it may save money in terms of energy but then you have to look at the cost in terms of security, safety and accidents, it may actually be more.”
According to a report by car insurance company Zurich Connect, there is an 11 percent increase in claims immediately following the winter clock change in the UK, when nights get darker earlier.
Why Can't We Have Glow-in-the-Dark Highways Like the Netherlands?
By Will Oremus | Posted Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, at 5:10 PM ET
It's one thing for the rest of the world to have way cooler trains than us. America has chosen car culture, for better or worse. But now comes word that the Netherlands is building way awesomer highways, while ours are stuck in the 20th Century. The Netherlands! If this isn't a wake-up call for the United States to invest more in infrastructure, I don't know what is. (OK, maybe this.)
Wired UK reported in October that the Dutch design firm Studio Roosegaarde and infrastructure management group Heijmans have come up with a "smart highway" concept that will replace standard road markings with photoluminescent powder that charges in the daylight and glows through the night. When the temperature drops below freezing, the road will automatically light up with snowflake indicators to warn drivers of possible ice, sort of like the Coors beer cans that turn blue when they're extra cold.
Whether any of that will actually make drivers safer remains to be seen. (Personally, I'd rather see these guys collaborate with Coors on a special paint that makes cars glow in the dark when their drivers are full of alcohol.) The Netherlands is wisely starting small, with a pilot project in the province of Brabant scheduled to begin later this year. But those are only the first two stages of the grand Dutch plan to put our highways to shame. The next steps include windmills that light up as cars pass by, and "induction lanes" that would charge electric cars while they drive.
The video below offers a rough illustration of what this might look like. Even if it turns out not to work as seamlessly as the video suggests, the innovative spirit behind the concept is admirable—and sorely missing from U.S. infrastructure planning. The design firm behind the project says it would like to bring the concept to the United States eventually, but Americans shouldn't hold their breath. Current levels of infrastructure spending are barely sufficient to maintain our "D" grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers and our 23rd-place global ranking from the World Economic Forum.