Light asphalt saves lives, says Dutch company

Experiments on light-reflecting asphalt point to the possibility that road administrators could save millions on road-side lighting on highways. In the dark, road-users could even find their way without headlights, De Telegraaf reports.

The first results are in after a long-term experimentation from Dura Vermeer and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment on the use of the 'white asphalt'.

In 2011, the Luminumpave, designed by Dura Vermeer, was laid on the A35 near Hengelo, as well as in areas of Purmerend and Hoofdorp, as a test area to see whether the asphalt with various mixture compounds could withstand the test of time.

According to innovation manager Robbert Naus, the 'white' roads could save up to 50 percent of the public illumination currently necessary. "This could mean enormous energy saving and corresponding reduction of CO2  emissions if this is administered."

Last year, the Minisry of Infrastructure and Environment decided to cut the lights on half of the highways after 11 p.m. to save costs. This is hoped to save €35 million by 2020. Naus believes that the white asphalt could be an alternative.

The light-reflecting asphalt is also safer as road-users can see each other as well as the road more clearly, Naus says. The manager tells the paper that negotiations are underway with the provinces of Overijssel and Noord-Holland about the possible administration of the white pavement. Rotterdam is also interested.

The asphalt is slightly more expensive than the normal kind, but this will be made up for by the reduction of lighting necessary. "And if it then also reduces the chance of accidents and is CO2-friendly, it means a win-win situation", Naus tells De Telegraaf.

Tunnels could be the first targets for the light asphalt because they are lit at all times, offering the most profit from this scheme. Naus says that the white asphalt could also simply work in strategic locations such as dark corners on roads or in the vicinity of schools, sporting associations and residential areas to increase safety.