Glow-in-the-Dark Roads: Illuminating Your Path to Safety

Glow-in-the-dark roads trialled to reduce road toll, protect wildlife

The Public Works Department in Eastern Victoria has taken an innovative step towards enhancing road safety. They have installed glow-in-the-dark roads on a trial basis, and experts are optimistic about its potential to improve road safety. Tarmac Linemarking, in collaboration with OmniGrip Direct and VicRoads, has designed these roads and also installed photoluminescent line markings along a stretch of Metung Road, spanning 700 meters. These special line markings absorb sunlight during the day and emit the stored light during the night, effectively illuminating roads that lack street lighting.

Even on overcast days, the glow-in-the-dark markings remain visible to the public due to their reflective, white base, which resembles normal road markings. This project is a significant part of the $457 million Victorian Government Road Safety Program, aiming to assess the cost efficiency and benefits of these markings in improving road safety.

Enhancing Road Safety with Glow-In-The-Dark Roads

John Emanuelli, the operations manager of Tarmac Linemarking, believes that many road sections, particularly the Great Alpine Road, Falls Creek Road, Mitta Mitta, and Omeo Highway, could benefit from glow-in-the-dark technology. Similar trials are being conducted worldwide, with a glow-in-the-dark highway located 100 km southeast of Amsterdam already using photoluminescent powder. The Department of Transport conducted trials in 2014 as well.A glow-in-the-dark in action.Image Credits: ABC News

Although some inconsistencies were observed during rainfall, Emanuelli is confident about the technology’s effectiveness. He stated, “I’ve visited the site multiple times in different weather conditions to assess its durability and brightness, and it’s working quite well. Many other municipalities have expressed interest in implementing this technology for various applications. We have also discussed the possibility of expanding this project to other regions.”

An Extremely Beneficial Measure

Glow-in-the-dark roads could prove to be highly valuable on rural Victorian roads, especially considering the recent 30% surge in road accidents in the region. According to Civil Engineering expert Long Truong from La Trobe University, photoluminescent road markings could significantly enhance visibility in areas with complex road alignments, sharp curves, and directional changes. Truong states, “Identifying critical locations where this technology can provide the highest benefit would make it a cost-effective solution as it eliminates the need for installing infrastructure for road lighting.”

Lisa Palma, the chief executive for Wildlife Victoria, highlights another crucial aspect of glow-in-the-dark roads. She explains that reducing light pollution is essential for protecting wildlife, as it can impact breeding cycles, expose nocturnal animals to predators, disrupt bird migratory patterns, and pose risks for both animals and drivers. By eliminating the need for streetlights on remote and rural roads, these glow-in-the-dark roads play a significant role in reducing light pollution and promoting the safety of both humans and wildlife.

The effectiveness of this technology is being tested at various sites, including Bendigo Creek Trail and Whittlesea-Kinglake Road, with promising results.


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