Mitigation of Highway Traffic Noise with Quieter Pavements and Noise Barriers

date March 21, 2014
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Friday, March 21, 2014 4:00 p.m. ETC 4.150

Dr. Manuel Trevino
Center for Transportation Research
The University of Texas at Austin

Noise associated with highway transportation has progressively become a nuisance to communities along roads. As transportation of people and goods continues to grow, roads expand, and noise levels rise. Nowadays, transportation agencies have become more environmentally sensitive and deal with pollution problems including noise. A number of factors affect the level of traffic noise, such as vehicle speed, terrain, grade, pavement surface characteristics, and shielding provided by walls, fences, buildings, or even dense vegetation. The most frequently used noise abatement measure has been the construction of noise barriers on the side of the road. The barriers, however, are only effective for receivers in the acoustic shadow of the wall. Other receivers are affected as much as they are without the barrier. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in designing and constructing quieter pavements as a way to abate traffic noise by reducing noise at the source. By modifying some of its properties, pavements have been shown to produce lower noise levels than the “average” pavements. Two case studies exemplify noise mitigation: the first transparent noise barrier in Texas, on IH-30 in Dallas, and the Mopac Improvement Project, in Austin.