The world’s first glow in the dark road opens for trials in the Netherlands amid widespread controversy over road lighting. A super dodgy-looking Irish-reg Merc in Moscow turns out to be entirely innocent. More specifics have emerged about the German ‘foreigner vignette’, and new truck tolls. Parts of Spain get traffic info on the radio in English. A truck fire briefly closed the Frejus Tunnel this afternoon, each EU country has been rated on its transport sector, and may or may not get standardised number plates, while horrifying figures emerge about the number of uninsured drivers on French roads.
THE WORLD’S FIRST GLOWING ROAD
New light-emitting road markings debut amid widespread rows about road lighting.
28.04.14: Story updated, see below.
The world’s first glowing road is up and running in the southern Netherlands.
Five hundred meters of the N329 at Oss, off the A50 between Eindhoven and Njmegen, has three light-emitting lines painted on each side of the carriageway.
The markings charge up during the day and glow at night, even without car’s headlamps.
This pilot project, aiming to last for five years, is a collaboration between Dutch artist and inventor Daan Roosegaarde and civil engineering firm Heijmans.
‘Glowing Lines’ is the first part of the ‘Smart Highways’ project to be put into action. Other innovations include ‘Dynamic Paint’ which lights up depending on the temperature to warn of black ice; induction charging lanes for electric vehicles; interactive lights that work only when traffic approaches; Dynamic Lines which change from hatched to solid depending on traffic conditions and Wind Lights powered by passing cars.
Meanwhile, turning off road lights to save money is becoming a charged topic in several EU countries. The Luxembourg Infrastructure minister has this week been forced to defend plans to take down 600 lights along the A6 motorway and turn off others between midnight and 6am.
Earlier this year it emerged turning off the lights elsewhere in the Netherlands ended up costing more when emergency workers were paid to turn the lights back on during incidents.
Meanwhile a report published today by the UK’s AA says that the overall 20% cut in accidents along lit roads between 2007-12 fell to 8.8% on roads without lighting.
For more on the Glowing Lines project see Smart Highway.
Update 28 April: the experiment has been brought to a premature end after the lines were reportedly found not to be visible in heavy rain. A statement from Heijmans today says, ‘We have temporarily faded out the lining to prevent any confusing situations for road users. As planned we are working on developing Glowing Lines version 2.0, which will be ready for this summer. It will then be introduced on a larger scale in the Netherlands and abroad.’
roundup: GERMANY. The foreigner vignette to drive on the country’s national road network starts on 1 January 2016 according to reports today. Additionally, for trucks, extra federal roads will be added into the system from 1 July 2015, the weight limit reduces to 7.5t on 1 October 2015 and from 1 July 2018 the truck toll applies to all public roads. SPAIN. Real time traffic info from INRIX will be available on Talk Radio Europe for listeners in southern Spain and Mallorca. FREJUS TUNNEL. A refrigerated truck caught fire while crossing from France to Italy this afternoon. The tunnel was closed for two hours but reopened at 15:30. EU. The Commission has published an EU Transport Scorecard rating each country on a range of criteria for the whole sector, ports, air and roads. The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, UK and Denmark came top; Latvia, Greece, Bulgaria and Poland came bottom. See more here. Meanwhile, a plan to standardise number plates across the EU, roasted in the UK media today, turns out to have been an amendment tabled by a British Conservative MEP… FRANCE. The most drivers are opting for the 2A and 2B number plates from Corsica following the liberalisation in 2009 because it makes them look tough says The Connexion. Meanwhile, 750,000 drivers are uninsured according to latest figures, up 28% since 2008. Sounds horrifying but represents only 2% of cars on the road.