Intelligent Interstates: 5 High-Tech ‘Smart Highway’ Systems

With prototypes set to hit the pavement in the Netherlands next year, these interactive  interventions take innovation back from a focus on the car and put it right on the road.

Examples include: glow-in-the-dark paints that recharge by day and illuminate by night, wind-driven roadside lamps, energy-saving motion-sensor lights, temperature- and moisture-sensitive weather- and road-condition displays with color-changing paint to warn of icing, and even dedicated induction-priority lanes to magnetically recharge electric cars.

The Dutch Design Award-winning team behind these designs comes from Studio Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure. Their work spans green technologies and safety measures that will merge with real-life lanes, providing useful feedback and assistance to drivers.

“It’s about safety, creating awareness but also making roads energy-neutral in terms of lighting … and most of all: creating the experience of an icon, the Route 66 of the future.” While we may eventually see a future where cars drive themselves, for now we live in a world where high speeds bring real dangers, and invention has not matched the acceleration of actual drivers. Time and experiments will tell how well these ideas actually work when applied to asphalt.