Science 3 min read

Why Future Bike Paths and Streets will Glow Blue

Efetova Anna |

Efetova Anna |

Concerns over rising costs, environmental impact, and personal health mean that cycling is gradually riding away from the realm of fitness enthusiasts and radical ecologists, and gaining speed mainstream as a more efficient and sustainable mode of transportation.

Next-gen company TPA sp has developed a literally brilliant bike path that charges itself during the day and self-illuminates at night for up to ten hours. 

The volcanic winter that resulted from the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia caused global temperatures to fall drastically, leading to the “Year Without a Summer“. The fallout of dust and sulfur are thought to have caused massive crop failures in regions worldwide, and in Europe specifically, entire horse populations died of starvation.

Because horses were still the main means of transportation at this point in history, perhaps German inventor Karl von Drais was responding to the transportation crisis by designing and building his “Hobby Horse” contraption that is known the ancestor of modern bikes.

Once again, environmental necessity is changing our means of transportation.

Concerns over costs, emissions and personal fitness have created demand for more efficient, cheaper and cleaner transportation.

Redesigning Cities

European cities were arguably built around horses. As a result, they are characterized by narrow streets with more compact cars to fit them, more developed train systems to bring large numbers of people from suburban areas into comparatively cramped city centers, and a dizzying network of bike lanes.

“Bikes offer a self-powered, zero emission form of transportation.”

In contrast, ample space and rapid urbanization have lead to many younger American cities being planned and developed around cars. Subsequently, while many cities have expanded over impressive distances but lack extensive public transportation, many Americans are limited to driving.

In addition to a necessity in response to the way that cities are planned, car ownership in America has also traditionally been a concept tied to personal independence and economic status.

However, economic concerns like rising gas prices and maintenance costs combine with concerns over emissions and health are incentivizing more and more people to consider more efficient and cost effective transportation.

Bikes offer a self-powered, zero emission form of transportation.

Little Bike Blue

More people taking up cycling in cities on both sides of the Atlantic helps alleviate environmental concerns and promote physical activity.

But, concerns over safety and sufficient lighting while cycling at night or in low light conditions still linger.

“TPA’s innovative luminophore design would significantly reduce energy consumption without sacrificing driver safety.”

One innovative solution already being tested in Poland is, for lack of a better word, brilliant.

Next-gen company TPA sp has designed and constructed a self-illuminating bike path in Pruszków that soaks up daylight, stores the energy and then re-emits light at night for up to ten hours.

The bike paths are covered with luminophores – a synthetic substance that collects light during the day and emits blue light during the night for up to ten hours. The paths are bathed in a dreamy blue glow that mimics bioluminescence on a tropical beach.

The elegant self-charging, self-illuminating bike path is almost a prototype for TPA’s solar ingesting technology. The company hopes to expand the technology to larger roads and highways in the near future.

More information on how such glowing roads will be maintained and how the luminophores’ charging capacity performs over time is necessary, but greater proliferation of TPA’s innovative design would significantly reduce energy consumption without sacrificing driver safety.

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