Solar cycle lanes that promote emission-free transport, safe cycling, and provide clean power for neighbouring homes: the epitome of a sustainable city solution. And the world’s first solar cycle lane looks gorgeous too! Blue and green LED lights charge by the sun through the day to light up as little stars to cycle over at night – marvellous.
Holland has a countrywide, comprehensive cycle lane network with signage, traffic lights, and safety measures. Now at night you can cycle along one of those lanes which has been illuminated by solar lights in a design inspired by another great Dutch creation: Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’. Crystalline silicon solar cells, encased within concrete and covered with a translucent layer of tempered glass, after dusk twinkle as blue and green swirls.
The technology is simple, and being able to gently cycle over such a charming design at night must be fantastic fun. A pity though it is only 1km long in Brabant, the county where Van Gogh was born and raised. But this solar-powered concept could illuminate the markings or outlines of other cycle lanes, pathways, or transport corridors.
The TNO research institute propose that 20% of Holland’s 140,000km of road could potentially be adapted, helping to power anything from traffic lights to electric cars.
If all the US’s roads were converted to solar roadways, the country would generate three times as much energy as it currently uses and cut greenhouse gases by 75%.
Kigali has had solar-powered lane lights on the Rwandan capital’s main roads for the last three years. The usual cat-eye road reflectors are solar powered to shine out real light at night. Sections of the M6 by Cheshire also have solar-powered cat’s eyes. I imagine it may be a little daunting to get used to, but fun like driving on an airport runway.
The Van Gogh-Rooosegaarde bike path uses a luminescent material that charges during the day and glows at night. These glowing bits look like little pebbles, but they’re actually not rocks at all. Using the smart coating material developed with Dutch infrastructure company Heijmans, Roosegaarde was able to create 50,000 fluorescent “rocks” that he then embedded into wet concrete in a swirling, pointillism pattern reminiscent of Starry Night. The glowing spectacle has already caught the attention of countries like Japan, where Roosegaard says he has plans to model bike paths after the lines in zen gardens.