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Revolutionary Road: The Netherlands Is Making Plans To Introduce Glow In The Dark Roads And Heated B
January 13, 2013
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Ask anyone who bikes around a major city, and they'll tell you - it can be a little unnerving at the best of times.

With all the cars, buses and people - not to mention the weather - it's a jungle out there.

On the other hand, with high gas prices and concerns about the environment, it's becoming more common to bike around town - especially to work.

The question is - how do we make it safe? Well, the Dutch government has a plan: glow in the dark roads and heated bike lanes.

The brains behind the idea is Daan Roosegaarde, who runs an international design and technology company.

His team has developed a photo-luminous powder to replace the regular markings on the road. Roosegaarde says it's similar to kids' glow in the dark paint.

The glowing markings contain crystals that attract the sun's energy, allowing them to charge up during the day and light up roads at night for up to 10 hours.

The idea, Roosegaarde says, is to make roads that are more safe, sustainable, efficient, and interactive.

"Governments are shutting down lighting at night to save money, so energy is becoming far more important than we could have imagined," he told the BBC.

The government hopes to start installing the glow-in-the-dark markers by the summer.

Meantime, Roosegaarde's team also is developing roads that can be heated up in winter.

The plan is to put small pipes in the concrete and pump warm ground water through, to keep the road's temperature just above freezing. That way snow and ice will melt.

Switzerland actually has a similar system, that can keep roads warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Check out this story from the BBC.

The Dutch team also has a special paint to make markers such as snowflakes on the road, as explained in this story by Wired.

When temperatures drop to a certain point, the flakes light up, so drivers know it could be slippery.

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The project is called 'Smart Highway' and has become part of the Dutch government's green road strategy. The goal is to increase bike commutes to work by 20 per cent over the next 20 years.

Of course, actually getting all of this done is expensive, but Roosegaarde says it'll save money in the long run.

The designers say there will be fewer accidents and people will be healthier by cycling - both of which will save the health care system money. Plus, they say, biking costs a lot less than driving a car.

And the ideas don't end there.

In the next five years, there are plans to bring in interactive lights that switch on as cars pass, wind-powered lights and lanes for electric vehicles.

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In all, Roosegaarde and his team have about 20 ideas that could one day be introduced. And they say other countries are interested too.

As he told Wired "India is really keen on it; they have a lot of blackouts there, it would be hallelujah to them."

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