smart highway by daan roosegaarde wins INDEX: award 2013
smart highway by daan roosegaarde wins INDEX: award 2013
sep 03, 2013

smart highway by daan roosegaarde wins INDEX: award 2013

smart highway by daan roosegaarde + heijmans wins INDEX award 2013



smart highway receives INDEX: award 2013 + people’s choice award for offering the world an entirely new approach to roads, which is not only beautiful and alluring but also a sustainable and cost-effective solution.


smart highway by dutch designer daan roosegaarde of studio roosegaarde is an interactive and sustainable road that includes a five-step plan for modernizing european roadways. it proposes embedding highways with technology that can visually communicate when the road is slippery, charge your electric car as you drive, and generate electricity for its own lights. the goal is to make roads more sustainable and interactive by using light, energy and road signs that automatically adapt to the traffic situation. new design concepts include the ‘glow-in-the-dark road’, ‘dynamic paint’, ‘interactive light’, ‘induction priority lane’ and ‘wind light’.

awarded biennially in denmark, under the attendance of HRH the crown price of denmark, the INDEX: award is the biggest design award in the world (€500,000) – and probably the most important. the importance of INDEX: award lies in the unique, over-arching theme of design to improve life – a concept which has established the prize as a global, inspirational design beacon. INDEX: award is split into five categories: body, home, work, play and community, representing the entire human life, inside to out. one prize worth €100,000 is presented to the winner in each of the categories.

smart highway by daan roosegaarde wins INDEX: award 2013
daan winning two prizes
image © designboom



in collaboration with heleen herbert from heijmans infrastructure daan roosegaarde developed ‘smart highway’ by using the latest available interactive techniques. the project is dedicated to plan roads that are more sustainable,  safe and interactive for both drivers and constructors. instead of focusing on the car to innovate the driving experience, roosegaarde and heijmans found it about time to innovate the highways. with smarter transportation research already disposable for use for decades, an implementation plan capable of updating the highway with new designs such as a ‘glow-in-the-dark road’, ‘dynamic paints’, ‘interactive lights’, ‘induction priority lanes’ and ‘wind lights’. the system essentially creates roads that are more socially conscious and interactive through the inclusion of light, energy and road signs which automatically adapt to various traffic situations.

daan roosegaarde’s smart highway on CNN
video courtesy of INDEX: design to improve life



smart highway by daan roosegaarde wins INDEX: award 2013



from the index: design to improve life®  press release:

index: design to improve life®  is a danish non-profit organization with global reach. we inspire, educate and engage in using design to improve life-skills to develop sustainable solutions to global challenges. we do this by means of the biggest design award in the world (index: award worth €500.000), world touring exhibitions, education programs, city collaborations and investment initiatives. we inspire by showing people how their personal lives and the lives of people around them can be improved by design to improve life. we do this through index: award and index: award exhibition, showcasing the positive outcomes and effects of the world’s best examples of design to improve life. we educate by using real life challenges as learning resources in schools and the talents of school as a resource in society. we educate students, teachers, educators, designers and decision makers to create sustainable solutions through a certified education curriculum, summer schools and design challenges. we engage by using top-down and bottom-up approaches to involve governments, organizations, companies and people in long-term, valuable network collaborations – ensuring economic, social and environmentally sustainable solutions. design to improve life cities and design to improve life investment are great examples of this.



futuristic highways glow in the dark – daan roosegaarde and heijmans
video courtesy studioroosegaarde



smart highway by daan roosegaarde wins INDEX: award 2013
interactive light



‘we live in a city of endless gray concrete roads, surrounded by steel lamps. they have a huge visual impact on our city. but why do they remain so rough and without imagination? why not make them a vision about mobility, a symbol of the future?’ says daan roosegaarde.



 smart highway by daan roosegaarde wins INDEX: award 2013
dynamic lines



smart highway by daan roosegaarde wins INDEX: award 2013
glowing lines


the lines are painted with a glow-in-the-dark powder giving light up to 10 hours. the idea is that luminescent green road markings painted on the road will make street lighting redundant.



smart highway by daan roosegaarde wins INDEX: award 2013
wind light



smart highway by daan roosegaarde wins INDEX: award 2013
 dynamic paint



giant snowflakes appear — the dynamic paint only becomes visible in specific situation, making highway signs relevant to driving context. a temperature-sensitive ingredient in this paint mix responds to cold by lighting up in phosphorescent white. the road thus communicates BEWARE! to the driver and eventually, perhaps, to the car itself.




INDEX: award 2013, these designs were awarded the prestigious prize in the following 5 categories:

BODY – mama natalie birthing simulator
HOME – fresh paper,
WORK – raspberry pi
COMMUNITY – copenhagen climate adaptation plan
PLAY – (featured here) ‘smart highway’ by daan roosegaarde


 smart highway by daan roosegaarde wins INDEX: award 2013

daan roosegaarde with the director of heijmanns



about studio roosegaarde
studio roosegaarde is the social design lab of artist and innovator daan roosegaarde with his team of designers and engineers. roosegaarde has been the focus of exhibitions at the tate modern, the national museum in tokyo, the victoria & albert museum in london and the stedelijk museum in amsterdam.


  • I like the powder coat glow in dark idea! Just great one, Dynamic paint is also a good idea, but it could use a little more thinking than putting it on a track. First if asphalt is warn off after few years, than that kind of paint would also disappear in very short amount of time, also I think it would be kind of annoying for the driver if he drives for hours and has certain amount of signs all over the place… But if you could color code for example track lines that they shine in one color for a certain temperature, and in another when its warmer or colder, that would be great!

    Luka Jelaska says:
  • Coolest road I have ever seen. Wow.

    Joey Dern says:
  • it’s the Netherlands, so temperature is in Celsius 🙂

    cool(!) ideas. the interactive lights should be easy to implement.

    Adrian says:
  • I think what would be better is design the freezing notifications in highway reflectors to reflect blue when cold or green for wifi. Instead of using so much paint that would wear down

    Jacob says:
  • Cool…but why not use they the weight of the car? Pressure can make energy…

    xx says:
  • this is future!

    Mauro says:
  • Alle technisch innovativen Erleichterungen suggerieren dem Autofahrer Sicherheit auf die er sich am Ende verläßt, bis die Technik und seine Vorsicht ihn verläßt.
    Das hier entwickelte smart-Konzept ist für mich ein faszinierender Schritt moderne Autobahn, jetzt sollten auch die Fahrer innovativ im Bewußtsein folgen. Wie bekommen wir den inneren Steinzeitmenschen in die Neuzeit?

    Nobby says:
  • The energy used by transportation by far exeeds energy conumption of households. The proposal to charge electric cars on the go is the best part of roosegaarde + heijmans plans for future highways as the limited range and high price of polluting batteries seem to keep costumers away from electric cars. I think that the highway that charges electric vehicles might be the biggest task for humanity in the coming decades to overcome pulluting effects of contemporary transportation and make it less dependent on fossil fuels that exhaust the waist directly in the mouths of surrounding inhabitants.

    Crispijn van Sas says:
  • Amazing. Looks like Tron. Makes driving even more like a video game. It is really the final piece to the puzzle the eliminate fossil fuelled transportation. I live in Quebec, Canada where all electricity is derived from hydro power. We would be able to almost eliminate carbon emissions with such highways. I would put induction and wif-fi on the entire highway on all lanes. I would also light up entire sections of the highway creating a continuous corridor of light allowing the driver to see far ahead, however I understand this may be costly. Best of luck with the execution of this project.

    Tony Trew says:
  • truely amazing and it’s about time.

    Arturo says:
  • Nice

    Awards says:

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