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An Introduction to Tire/Pavement Noise by Robert J. Bernhard and Roger L. Wayson (Institute for Safe, Quiet, and Durable Highways, Purdue University, 140 S. Intramural Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2031) (Jan 2005)

Highlights

Tire/pavement interaction is the dominant noise source at speeds above approximately 30 mph).

There is no general guideline available yet for design of quiet pavement.  

Highway traffic noise is an environmental problem in both metropolitan and rural areas. The most significant impact of traffic noise is the annoyance it causes for humans and the associated negative effects this annoyance has on quality of life. However, in addition to annoyance, traffic noise can also impact health, create difficulty with speech communication, suppress real estate values, and cause the stagnation of economic expansion when the public resists highway capacity increases. Without a significant strategy for traffic noise reduction, the type of conflict between economic development and environmental concerns that has essentially stopped airport expansion for the last twenty-five years will impact highway expansion. It is essential that reduced noise highway alternatives be developed to minimize the impact of traffic noise.

Highway traffic noise is generated by four subsources of highway vehicles: engine/drivetrain noise, exhaust noise, aerodynamic noise, and tire/pavement interaction noise. For a properly maintained automobile, tire/pavement interaction is the dominant sub-source at speeds above approximately 50 kph (30 mph). For properly maintained trucks that are not using engine compression brakes, the tire/pavement interface noise is similarly dominant but at a slightly higher speed. Pavements that produce less noise for the tire/pavement interface sub-source are an important strategic solution necessary to address future

highway noise problems.

To develop reduced noise pavement that satisfy transportation agencies' requirements for safety, durability and competitive economics it will be necessary to use expertise in pavement design, materials, and acoustics. This document is intended to summarize the state of knowledge of the field to serve as a bridge between these disciplines.

This document-includes sections to describe:

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Relevant topics in acoustics

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Noise metrics used to describe tire/pavement noise

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Tire/pavement noise generation

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Current technology used to develop reduced noise pavements

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Tire/pavement noise measurement methods U.S. traffic noise policy

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Current effort to develop models of tire/pavement noise for use in traffic noise models

Conclusions

This document is an introduction to the subject of tire/pavement interaction noise. It should provide the information needed by the highway engineer to frame important issues. The reader is directed to the references for more comprehensive information.

Quiet pavement that is safe, durable (both for sound control and wear) and economical has been demonstrated to be possible with current technology. However, the variation of available materials and construction techniques among the states mean that there is no general guideline available yet for design of quiet pavement. Thus, the highway design engineer will need to select

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