Road noise reduction solutions coming out of Europe

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by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

This article from the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency is focused on projects that aim to reduce road noise “for a quieter Europe.” However, the noise reduction solutions in the article could also be applicable on American roads. 

One project to lessen road noise involved new surfacing on the road, aimed at reducing noise levels by several decibels. When residents were asked whether they noticed a difference in noise levels, nearly two-thirds said they did, especially at night. This project was also meant to create financial savings by using new asphalt mixes on the roads.  

The project coordinator said his group was exploring noise barriers in addition to low-noise pavements. There will also be further testing in “real test environments.” This project, carried out in Paris, is funded by The LIFE Programme. This program was started by the European Union in 1992 to fund projects aimed at making Europe more environmentally friendly. Thus, the results of this project will be shared across Europe. LIFE Programme is also stressing the need for less noise pollution, and members are calling for similar projects as the one cited in this article.

Newer techniques are being developed to lessen road noise, so I find it worthwhile to review the European studies and compare them with what is being done in the United States. Road traffic noise affects the health and well-being of millions of people living near roads and highways. It was especially interesting that the European study included questioning residents as to how successful the road noise project was. 

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