Article from 20 minutes Bordeaux: A luminescent road inaugurated on a bike path

INNOVATION The company from Pessac (Gironde) Olikrom and the group Eiffage Route presented this Monday their luminescent road, supposed to improve the visibility of road marking at night …

A luminescent road was created on a bike path near Bordeaux by Olikrom. - Olikrom

A luminescent road was created on a bike path near Bordeaux by Olikrom. – Olikrom

  • This luminescent painting, that is to say, which lights up at night, was applied on a 2 km bike path in Pessac.
  • The aim is to improve road safety by reinforcing the visibility of users at night.
  • OliKrom and Eiffage Route want to develop their concept on roads, roundabouts, pedestrian crossings or motorway ramps.

Will the road of tomorrow be luminescent? The company from Pessac near Bordeaux, Olikrom and the Eiffage Route group inaugurated this Monday a bike path of 2 km, in Pessac, equipped with this painting that lights up at night.

Olikrom and Eiffage Route have worked on this project for almost 2 years. “I had contacted Olikrom to answer the call for projects” Road of the Future “of the Ademe, explains François Olard, R&D director of the infrastructure branch of Eiffage. With Total and Ifsttar (French institute of science and technology of transport, development and networks) we have been awarded, thanks to this painting that will improve the visibility of the user from 50 to 100 m. The goal of this innovation is to enhance road safety by improving the visibility of road markings at night as well as with bad weather conditions.

An attempt made in the Netherlands

This photoluminescent road paint, called LuminoKrom®, captures and stores sunlight or headlight and restores it at night. “The paint contains innovative and durable pigments whose particularity is to emit light without a power source. An innovation that prefigures the road of the future more economical, greener and safer, “says Jean-François Létard, CEO of Olikrom.

Luminescence, the property of these materials to capture light during the day to restore it at night,” he continues, “is a technology that has existed for a very long time. There had been an attempt in the road sector in the Netherlands, but it stopped very quickly because the technology was not stable. Our challenge has been to maintain the luminescence properties at a high intensity throughout the night. And for a paint that can be used industrially for road marking.

A lower financial cost than the electrification of infrastructure

This bike path in Pessac was chosen as a life size tester, for several reasons: it did not benefit from public lighting and it crosses a whole forest area. “It was therefore the ideal field of experimentation, since we have different lighting atmospheres,” says Jean-François Létard. And we found out that the light emits well in all these conditions, to guide people to cycling.”

Apart from bike paths, what can this innovation be used for? It can be applied in almost any place, even if the goal is not to put it everywhere. “This is a painting that will serve all areas that do not benefit from public lighting, and that will prove much cheaper than the electrification of infrastructure,” promises François Olard. “This concerns rural areas of course, but we will also be complementary to all the initiatives of cities that have begun to turn off their lighting at night,” adds Jean-Francois Létard. This painting will be able to draw roundabout contours and security elements. “

A painting that will serve to guide autonomous vehicles?

We are not going to be confined to road marking on the ground, but we also plan to go on the vertical signage, on the highway ramps, road signs, bridge piers …“, enumerates François Olard. The priority in 2019 will be “to set up experimental stops to protect pedestrian crossings.

In 2020, “we aim for the international, since we already have requests” and in the very long term this painting “could accompany the guidance of autonomous vehicles.

Find the link to Article 20 Minutes.