I’d wait for the other shoe to drop before getting too excited about this, but this self-cleaning, air-filtering road surface is pretty cool no matter what. The material in question is being researched by the University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, and deployment of it on a normal road resulted in a 25-to-45% decrease in NOx in the air — that’s a good thing.
The NOx gets gripped by Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) baked into the pavement, a photocatalytic material that uses sunlight to convert the NOx to nitrate, which is then washed away by rain. The road material also breaks down algae and dirt (don’t ask me how), so it stays clean.
Sounds like a winner, right? Well, there are probably lots of long-term tests to be done, and even then, it’s 50% more expensive than regular road materials. So entire highways of this stuff are probably out of the question. But for places like a high-traffic downtown area or a residential area that prides itself on cleanliness, it might be worth the investment.