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"Neon lights/Shimmering neon lights/..."
 (+2) [vote for, against]

Imagine a fast road, illuminated by a continuous strip of softly glowing lights along its edge.

In the dead of night, all the lights would be off. As a car drives along the road, the lights illuminate a 50-metre stretch of road in front of the car. When the road is busier, the lights are pulsed, rather like the more horrible type of Chistmas illumination, to give moving pulses of light travelling down the road at the speed limit, separated by the safe braking distance.

Traffic control could be effected by, in an emergency having each moving pulse of light 'lock on' to the nearest car. As a driver, you would sense the light pulse tracking your every change in speed. Then, to slow you down because of an accident ahead, for example, the pulse of light would begin to slow down - if enough people slowed down then traffic on the road could be easily controlled.
 — hippo, Sep 20 2003

runbackwardslights http://www.halfbake.../runbackwardslights
Reminded me of this idea by [Jeremi] somehow [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

We've done a "pacing lights" idea before, but I think your uses are original. I like it.
 — phoenix, Sep 20 2003

 explain it to me, phoenix.

is it to do with muttering a little sentence lasting 2 seconds between a couple of trees.
 — po, Sep 20 2003

 I'd imagine that these lights would be vandalized. I know I would.

hehehe
 — dickity, Sep 20 2003

 [po] Think of street lights that only light up when necessary and only light up the section of road just ahead of the car. As the car moves down the road, the light follows it. Now put the street light at street level so it's not so much shining down on the road as across the surface.

This would be hypnotic. It reminds me of a Steven Wright joke where he says "I replaced my headlights with strobe lights. Now it looks like everyone else is standing still."
 — phoenix, Sep 21 2003

 I would try to beat this at its own game (which would not be a wise or healthy thing to do I know) by going too fast then too slow. U-turns where I shouldn't etc.

+1 for hippo.
 — po, Sep 21 2003

 Sadly no.... (I really wanted to vote for this idea)

 Wouldn't work in cities/ suburbia, because of the traffic volume, need for vision of traffic conditions/ pedestrians crossing in the middle distance and as[phoenix] said, the hypnotic effect.

Wouldn't work on the desert highways, because the system would cost too much to construct per vehicle's benefit. More efficient for each car to use/ upgrade headlights.
 — FloridaManatee, Sep 22 2003

I do like the idea of having roadside lighting only come on when cars are in the area, though this may have been suggested elsewhere, not sure. It would decrease light pollution.
 — waugsqueke, Sep 22 2003

Just use cat's eyes. They work brilliantly and I don't understand why more countries haven't adopted them (does that make sense?).
 — squeak, Sep 22 2003

+ lovely image
 — -alx, Sep 22 2003

I like the thought of having the light follow you at your speed, but changing in case of a slow down or accident. Cool! If it won't work, it's only because people enclosed in steel automobiles forget their mortality and drive like idiots.
 — stringstretcher, Oct 30 2003

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