Pavement Functional Design and Management

Elisabete Freitas

University of Minho, Portugal


Traffic noise is a public health problem to which tire-road component critically contributes. This explains the authorities’ interest in implementing action plans to abate noise. Low-noise pavements are seen as one of the best measures to reduce the overall noise near high-speed roads and in urban environments where low speeds are practised. Still, the more complex the road environment, the more complex the task of effectively reducing noise due to safety issues. In urban environments, tire-road noise is a relevant cue for the decision-making of vulnerable road users. Besides that, there is an increasing penetration rate of electric vehicles and the arrival of autonomous vehicles in traffic. These facts impel road engineers to go beyond the knowledge of the material, that is, to analyse the tire-road noise abatement issue comprehensively. In this context, this communication will revisit the design of low-noise pavements, explore new approaches to tire-road noise assessment based on road users’ annoyance and perception descriptors (psychoacoustics descriptors), and discuss the role of tire-road noise in a changing mobility paradigm bearing in mind the emergent demand of giving back the urban space to people.