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Are glow-in-the-dark smart cycle lanes set to light up UK roads?

Glow-in-the-dark road markings, charged by daylight, have been installed in the Netherlands, with suggestions that similar "smart highway" features could be introduced in the UK.

The project's creators are also developing cycle lanes that work on the same principle, which have already attracted the interest of British planners.

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Artist Daan Roosegaarde worked with civil engineer Hans Goris to create the road markings, which are designed to be clearer than cat's eye reflectors.

Mr Roosegaarde explained that the photo-luminescent paint uses much less energy than conventional lights, making it perfect for developing countries.

"There will be big projects," he said. "We have requests from China and India - these are places where you need safe roads that are disconnected from the energy grid."

The first cycle highway, dubbed the Van Gogh-Roosegaarde Light Emitting Bicycle Path, is expected to launch in December in Nuenen and is inspired by the artist's "Starry Night" masterpiece.

Authorities in Birmingham and London have reportedly witnessed a demonstration of the technology with a view to implementing it in the UK.

Professor David Bailey of the Aston Business School, Birmingham, told the BBC that the project certainly deserves a trial run if it is capable of reducing electricity usage.

The cycle highway is just one of a number of proposals being developed by Mr Roosegaarde and his team, but he believes it perfectly matches the UK's tradition of blending craftsmanship and function.

"For a small country like the Netherlands, we have to be creative - that is how we will survive," he said. "I won't say what the UK should and shouldn't do but I can see similarities. You cherish your heritage but you want to make it contemporary too."

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Birmingham council and the Mayor of London's office would not confirm if plans were in place to send a delegation to the Netherlands, but Mr Roosegaarde hopes to have the cycle lanes installed by 2016.

Image Credit: Daan Roosegaarde