The Futuristic Superhighways of 1964 Had Glow-in-the-Dark Roads

Illustration for article titled The Futuristic Superhighways of 1964 Had Glow-in-the-Dark Roads

Glow-in-the-dark roads are finally a reality; at least in the Netherlands. But we've been waiting on this particular vision of the future for quite a while now — for over 50 years, in fact.


RCA ran this stunning illustration in a 1964 print ad touting its transistors. Companies have always loved positioning themselves alongside the tremendous technological advances of the future. And according to the ad, RCA transistors would help run your "electronic" car of tomorrow.

The Dutch version may be a bit more humble than this completely illuminated highway (and we may not have those oddly shaped steering wheels), but the glowing freeway is still pretty darn close.

How RCA Transistors Will Run Your "Electronic" car of Tomorrow

Slide behind the wheel of this dreamboat. Push the electronic control button. Then sit back and let transistors take over.

Automatically, transistors and semiconductor rectifiers will help... accelerate... brake... steer... detect obstacles... guard against "tailgating"... guide you safely along the electronic lanes of super highways... signal on-coming traffic as you approach intersections... even tell you when the road is icy.

As darkness falls, these devices will turn on your lights and courtesy headlight beams. When it rains, they will close your windows, start your windshield wipers and adjust their speed to conditions. They will even blow your horn automatically when necessary! Miraculous? Hardly.

Most sites that have published this image credit it to Arthur Radebaugh, the illustrator whose work we feature frequently here at Paleofuture. But I haven't been able to confirm that it is indeed a Radebaugh illustration.

Whether it's a Radebaugh or not, it's a gorgeous vision of midcentury techno-utopian dreams. And one that seems to be just over the horizon, if the latest highway advancements of the Dutch are any indication.

Illustration for article titled The Futuristic Superhighways of 1964 Had Glow-in-the-Dark Roads

Image: Decmber 1964 print ad for RCA via Tumblr




Maybe glow-in-the-dark lines or markers, but glow-in-the-dark roads seem like they would be an eye-strain. I've found that freshly-paved blacktop is easier to drive at night because 1) The lane markers are more defined 2) New blacktop (unlike old, faded blacktop) doesn't reflect back light from my headlights causing eye-strain and de-sensitivity to light. 3) because of #2, when my headlights reflect something in the road, it stands out better.