We may think of traffic as something that is annoying and bothersome to deal with on your commute to work and back home, but it’s much more than that. Not only can it cause you unnecessary stress, but also add to the nuisance of noise pollution. According to a report issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO)
, traffic-related noise pollution accounts for over one million healthy years of life lost annually to ill-health, disability or early death in the western countries of the European Region.
A few countries have started to modify road surfaces in areas vulnerable to high noise, but there is still a long way to go. Negotiations are currently underway to legally limit how much noise a road surface should generate, a move that is also backed by vehicle and tyre manufacturers.
But in order to put these requirements into practice, we need International Standards to uniformly and reliably measure and monitor the influence of road surfaces on traffic noise. ISO published a first standard in 1997, but advances in technology and changing needs have led to the development of a new methodology in ISO 11819-2, Acoustics – Measurement of the influence of road surfaces on traffic noise – Part 2: The close-proximity method.
However, the ISO committee developing these standards went even further. Recent research has shown that temperature influences noise emission as much as tyres and road surface. A new document, ISO/TS 13471-1, was developed to account for the influence of temperature when measuring tyre/road noise. Ulf Sandberg, Project Leader for the new standard, says that “the new methodology is much more practical and easier to use, especially for long stretches of road”.
“The need to control road noise is getting more and more attention. The European Commission, for example, now requires that member states regularly report traffic noise emission along major roads and that they develop abatement programmes if these are found to be excessive,” says Sandberg. “The three new documents offer a solid toolbox for identifying the contribution of road surfaces to noise pollution.”
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