futuristic city Glow-in-the-dark roads
Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
February 15, 2024 ·  3 min read

Glow-in-the-dark Roads Trialed in Australia to Reduce Road Toll, Protect Wildlife

The Public Works Department in Eastern Victoria put up glow-in-the-dark roads on a trial basis. Most experts are of the opinion that the technology could definitely work on road safety. Tarmac Linemarking put these roads in place which has been in collaboration with OmniGrip Direct and VicRoads. They have also installed line-markings that are photoluminescent along a stretch of Metung Road which measures up to 700 meters. These design of the line markings help it absorb direct sunlight. It will be emitting the stored light when it is dark outside. The main purpose of such technology is to illuminate roads that are without street lighting. 

While the glow-in-the-dark roads might be dull during overcast days, the markings would still be visible to the public. This is due to the reflective, white base- which is quite similar to normal road markings. The project is a major part of the $457 million Victorian Government Road Safety Program under the Department of Transport. This project will further assess the cost efficiency and the benefits provided to road safety as a result of such markings.[1] 

Read: Poland Has An Eco-Friendly, Solar-Powered Bicycle Lane That Glows In The Dark

Glow-In-The-Dark Roads Could Enhance Road Safety

John Emanuelli, the operations manager of Tarmac Linemarking, stated, “I think the Great Alpine Road, certainly there are spots on that that could be used, your road to Falls Creek, Mitta Mitta, Omeo Highway.” Such glow-in-the-dark roads are also under testing throughout the globe. There is already a highway- 100 km southeast of Amsterdam, which has been colored with photoluminescent powder. The Department of Transport had put up trials back in 2014.

A glow-in-the-dark in action.
Image Credits: ABC News

However, there were inconsistencies that came up as a result of rainfall. Nevertheless, Emanuelli thinks, “I’ve been back numerous times in different types of weather to have a look at how it’s wearing and how bright it is, and it’s working quite well. We’ve had a lot of people wanting quotes on different applications in different types of things. We’ve spoken to more shires across the region about getting this on the road.

Read: Powerful Video Highlights the Importance of Drinking Responsibly and the Horrors of Drunk Driving. 

An Extremely Beneficial Measure

A glow-in-the-dark road could be especially useful on rural Victorian roads. As it stands, the last year saw an increase of 30% in road accidents in that region. Long Truong, a Civil Engineering expert from La Trobe University, believes that photoluminescent marking could definitely improve the visibility of the region.

I believe the technology would improve road safety for certain situations- for example when we have very complex road alignment, changes in direction, tight curves, and things like that. If we can identify the critical location where this can offer the highest benefit, I would say it is a cost-effective solution because we don’t need to put actual infrastructure for road lighting.

Lisa Palma, the chief executive for Wildlife Victoria, stated, “It can impact breeding cycles of species, exposes vulnerable nocturnal animals to predators, can impact bird migratory patterns and accordingly can impact species over the longer term. While it’s important for roads to be very safe we also want to ensure that wildlife can go about their normal business without being impacted by light pollution at all and put themselves and drivers at risk.

Glow-in-the-dark roads are crucial for reducing light pollution. And the way they would be doing so would be by eliminating the need for streetlights on remote and rural roads. This technology is currently under testing at a couple of sites like Bendigo Creek Trail, and Whittlesea-Kinglake Road.  

Keep Reading: You Can Now Buy A Flying Car For $92,000