At 8om last night, cyclists in the Dutch town of Nuenen were finally able to ride on a bike path that's been in the making for months. What took so long? This particular bike path represents the product of a collaboration between a designer and a construction company who want to build smarter, more efficient roads. Like this one, which glows.
The Van Gogh-Roosegaarde bike path (Nuenen is the hometown of Van Gogh and the city commissioned the path as a tribute) is coated in light-emitting paint and embedded with small, mosaic-like LEDs that suck power from a nearby solar array. Charging all day, the path glows nearly all night. When it goes out — or when clouds prevent the array from charging — an auxiliary power can feed it light.
"I wanted to create a place that people will experience in a special way, the technical combined with experience, that's what techno-poetry means to me," says the path's designer, the Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde. Roosegaarde worked with a infrastructure and construction company called Heijmans on the project — it's a smaller, more whimsical version of the "smart highways" the group is working to develop around the Netherlands.
It's been two years since the project got underway, so it's nice to see some of it coming to fruition, at least in the prototype phase: A few weeks ago, the group unveiled their first smart highway, which is lined with paint that absorbs light during the day and emits it at night. [Colossal]