The late Edward N. Hines, a Michigan resident who invented the highway centerline, was honored today with the first Paul Mijksenaar Design for Function Award in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Widely recognized as one of the great innovators in highway development, Hines was a charter member of the Wayne County Road Commission in 1906 and served until his death in 1938. In 1911, Hines conceived the idea of painting a centerline on roads to separate traffic. The idea came to him after watching a leaky milk wagon leave a white trail down a road.

Painted centerlines were first used in 1911 on Trenton ‘s River Road in Wayne County . In 1917, the nation’s first centerline on a rural state highway was painted on what is now County Road 492 in Marquette County .

In 1972, Hines was inducted posthumously into the Michigan Transportation Hall of Honor in Lansing. State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle accepted today’s design award on behalf of Hines via a videotaped message.

“On behalf of the Hines family and the Michigan Department of Transportation, we thank Foundation Paul Mijksenaar for this tremendous honor,” Steudle said. “The highway centerline has been called the single most important traffic safety device in the history of automobile transportation, and Edward Hines originated it right here in Michigan .”

The Paul Mijksenaar Design for Function Award is an initiative of Foundation Paul Mijksenaar, a global multi-disciplinary center for research and debate in the field of information design and architecture in the modern world. Paul Mijksenaar is a designer of visual information systems, and the founder and director of the international design bureau Mijksenaar.