The Smart Highway's paint absorbs sunlight and glows for up to ten hours.

Two Dutch companies are putting the finishing touches on a system called Smart Highway which they say will make roads safer and more energy-efficient.

Thanks to the use of a special kind of paint that contains sunlight-absorbing molecules, road markings will be able to glow in the dark for up to ten hours, eliminating the need for lamp posts and saving local governments thousands on their electricity bill.

Developed specifically for the Smart Highway project, the paint also contains temperature-sensitive crystals that display big blue snowflakes on the road surface to warn drivers of potential black ice.

Although glow-in-the-dark roads sound like a feature best left to science fiction flicks, the Smart Highway is scheduled to be introduced in the middle of next year on a small stretch of road in the Netherlands. If deemed successful, it could gradually be applied to larger stretches of road over the next couple of years. Its implementation is said to be costly, however.

What's next?

The next step in the Smart Highway project is to add small pinwheel-like structures to both sides of the road that will light up the freeway thanks to the air motion generated by passing cars.

Last but not least, the two Dutch companies are in the early stages of developing a road surface that can charge EVs as they drive by using an electromagnetic field.