A town in Poland has completed the construction of a 100m cycle path that uses a synthetic material that absorbs sunlight during the day and radiates it at night to create an eerie blue glow.
The material was developed by Austrian materials technology firm TPA, which has laboratories throughout central Europe and is backed by contractor Strabag. It chose the town of Olsztyn in the Masurian Lakes District of Poland to test it out, partly because the landscape created an attractive setting.
Igor Ruttmar, the president of the company, told ABC News: "It illuminates a very bright blue, which is gorgeous against the dark forest and river at night. The glow is a nice complement to the area’s beautiful nature, lakes, small hills and countryside."
He added: "Right now, it’s only about 100m. We want to test out this short section, see how it endures the winter and then create a plan to make it longer."
The material gains its ability to store sunlight by mixing particles called lumiphores with asphalt. These use the chemical properties of phosphorous to create the glowing effect.
Asphalt as you’ve never seen it before …
Once charged by sunlight, the material will emit light for around 10 hours.
Waldemar Krolikowski, the director of the Board of Regional Roads in Olsztyn said the luminous bike path was meant to improve the safety of people biking at night. He said: "We hope that the glowing bicycle path will help prevent bicycle and pedestrian accidents at night. It’s a problem here in Poland, especially in the areas farther from the cities that are darker and more invisible in the night."
The idea of illuminating cycle paths has also been tried in the Netherlands, where a track between Eindhoven and Neunen where stones coated with a luminous film were used to recreate the sky from Vincent Van Gough’s "Starry Night" painting.
Top image: The main aim of the new material is to improve safety for night cyclists (Images courtesy of TPA)