Beyond Tire-road Noise

Elisabete Freitas

University of Minho, Portugal


Elisabete Fraga de Freitas holds a BSc and PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Minho. She has been a Researcher and Assistant Professor in the Civil Engineering Department of that university since 1998. She develops research on surface characteristics of road pavements, including new surface functions and road safety. The present main areas of work are the investigation of tire/pavement interaction, particularly the analysis of its effect on annoyance, vehicle detection, and pedestrian behaviour, photocatalytic, self-cleaning and anti-ice pavement surfaces, and also the investigation of accident factors, accident modelling, and pedestrian behaviour, addressing the field, laboratory (experimental and simulation), and numerical components. She has been involved in several funded research national and international projects as principal researcher and member in those areas, e.g. IMPACT (safety perception through auditory, visual and geometric ques), Microcoolpav (phase change materials for cool pavements), Nanoair (photocatalytic pavements); AnPeB (pedestrians’ behaviour/noise). “BarRod (safety guards). She has been teaching Bachelor, Master and Doctoral Programmes related to Civil Engineering and participating in the activities of the international pedagogical network EUCLIDES. Elisabete has supervised(ing) nine Ph.D. and thirty-six MSc theses. She is the author of more than 120 papers in international and national journals and conferences, and is a member of the editorial board of four Scopus or WoS/SCI Indexed journals (Transportation Research – Part D (Elsevier); Applied Systems Innovation (MDPI); Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering (young editor – Elsevier), and Construction Materials – Frontiers in Built Environment). Elisabete is an expert member of the Working Group CEN / TC 227 / WG 5 – Surface Characteristics – and coordinator of the mirror Sub-Committee, and provides consultancy services for companies in this field.


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.