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A Cambridge pathway whose surface lights up after dark with a blue glow

starpath-glow2For historic reasons some of the parks in Cambridge are called ‘pieces.’  These include Christ’s Pieces behind Christ’s College, on the main route to the Grafton Centre shopping mall with it huge multiplex cinema.  Those returning home after dark are in for a surprise, because Cambridge City Council is testing a new method of lighting the way, a method that might replace street lamps in some areas.

The whole surface of the pathway glows in the dark because it has been inlaid with ultraviolet particles that absorb light during the day and emit a blue glow after the sun sets.  The technology, called ‘Starpath’ has been developed by surrey-based Pro-Tech Surfacing.  The particles are sprayed onto the existing surface, then covered by a protective film.  The surface is fast to apply, non-slip and energy efficient.

A Cambridge City Council spokesperson tells us that the aim is to preserve the historic nature of their open spaces, while incorporating safety features.  It will doubtless be established in the trial if the light is bright enough to prevent accidents and collisions, and if it is sufficient to deter crime.  An interesting add-on feature might be the use of different coloured glowing surfaces to denote cycle lanes. The technology is cheaper and more energy efficient than conventional street lighting, and it might well give walkers a less light-polluted view of the night sky as they stroll through Cambridge.  And it is attractive to look at, too.


One Response

  1. This is an interesting development. The Local Authority in my area has decided to replace all sodium (orange) street lighting with LED lamps. They estimate the high efficiency of LED’s will reduce the Authorities overall electricity bill by 30% per annum. Thirteen thousand units will be replaced and the white light will give a very different night scene but it will take three years to complete the task. I am keen to see the effect when it snows and the orange tint turns to a sparkling white.

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