By Jeffrey N. Ross.

Most automotive safety advancements these days are made either through the automakers or government standards, but the Netherlands is coming up with innovative ways of making the roads safer. Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure have teamed up to introduce the Smart Highway, which was named the Best Future Concept at the Dutch Design Awards.

Incorporating ideas such as color-changing road paint, glow-in-the-dark lane markers and interactive street lights, the Smart Highway could help drivers on multiple levels. Using glow-in-the-dark lines road seems like a relatively low-cost idea for improving visibility (especially in rural areas) while the interactive lights use motion sensors to illuminate the roadways only when cars are detected, a feature that sounds like it will reduce costs by reducing electricity usage, with the side benefit of curbing light pollution. The dynamic, color-changing road paint can adjust based on the weather to warn drivers of potentially dangerous road conditions, including displaying large snowflake graphics on the road’s surface to warn of ice.
Other elements of the Smart Highway include wind lights and dedicated electric vehicle lanes that use a wireless induction charging system. The press release says that some elements of the Smart Highway could become a reality within the next five years, but Designboom says Dutch drivers could see the technology on the roads as soon as next year.