Engineers and scientists in the US are attempting to design quieter roads by experimenting with different materials. The Wall Street Journal reports that rubber, asphalt and gravel are all being tested in hopes to create a less noisy road surface. Scientist Paul Donavan from Illingworth & Rodkin Inc., a firm that specialises in acoustics and air quality, said highway traffic generates between 65-75 decibels from around 15-30 metres away – on par with normal conversation heard from about a metre away – with trucks another 10 decibels louder again.
Both Arizona and California have been trialing different road surfaces while Virginia is testing its own stretches of experimental pavement as part of a US$7.5 million project. The level of road noise generated is linked to a road’s texture, stiffness, and its porosity – the air spaces in the road material itself.
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