Illuminating Roads for Safety and Wildlife Conservation

Glow-in-the-dark roads are being trialed in Eastern Victoria as an innovative measure to enhance road safety and protect wildlife. Designed by Tarmac Linemarking in collaboration with OmniGrip Direct and VicRoads, these roads feature photoluminescent line markings that absorb sunlight during the day and emit stored light at night. The goal is to illuminate roads without relying on street lighting, ensuring visibility for drivers even in the absence of adequate lighting.

While these glow-in-the-dark roads may appear dull on overcast days, the line markings remain visible to the public due to their reflective white base, similar to regular road markings. This project is part of the $457 million Victorian Government Road Safety Program, overseen by the Department of Transport. The aim is to assess the cost efficiency and benefits of these markings in enhancing road safety. [1]

Shining a Light on Road Safety

John Emanuelli, the operations manager of Tarmac Linemarking, believes that glow-in-the-dark roads have the potential to improve road safety in various locations. He mentions that areas like the Great Alpine Road, the road to Falls Creek, Mitta Mitta, and Omeo Highway could benefit from this technology. Similar trials have been conducted worldwide, including a highway southeast of Amsterdam, which was colored with photoluminescent powder back in 2014. However, there were some inconsistencies observed during rainfall. In general, the technology has proven effective, leading to increased interest in using it for different applications and receiving quotes from various regions. [1]

A Bright Solution for Rural Roads

Glow-in-the-dark roads can be particularly valuable for rural Victorian roads, given the recent 30% increase in road accidents in the region. Civil Engineering expert Long Truong from La Trobe University believes that photoluminescent markings can significantly improve visibility, especially on roads with complex alignments, directional changes, and tight curves. Truong highlights the cost-effectiveness of this solution, as it eliminates the need for additional infrastructure such as road lighting.

Lisa Palma, the chief executive for Wildlife Victoria, emphasizes the importance of minimizing light pollution for the well-being of wildlife. She mentions that excessive light can impact breeding cycles, expose nocturnal animals to predators, and disrupt bird migratory patterns. Glow-in-the-dark roads play a crucial role in reducing light pollution, as they eliminate the necessity of streetlights on remote and rural roads. Trials are currently underway at sites like Bendigo Creek Trail and Whittlesea-Kinglake Road to further explore the benefits of this technology.

By incorporating glow-in-the-dark roads, we can improve road safety while also safeguarding the natural habitat for wildlife. The ongoing trials and assessments will determine the long-term effectiveness of this innovative solution.


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