Quieter pavement

Road construction isn't usually something to get excited about, but what if those resurfacing projects were also making roads quieter? While increased traffic has turned some roads into aural nuisances, engineers are working to reduce tire noise by changing the design of pavement surfaces.

According to The Wall Street Journal, new pavement surfaces have the potential to cut tire noise by three to five decibels, which is enough to make roads noticeably quieter. Among the techniques used are giving the pavement a texture and mixing different substances, like rubber, into the concrete. The problem with these approaches, however, is that over time their effects are mitigated by wear and tear. Dirt clogs the textured pavement, and the quiet roads can wear out more prematurely than standard surfaces, according to the report.

Experiments continue, however, with test roads deployed in Arizona, California, Virginia and Washington state. In Europe, legislation has even been passed to require cities to use quieter pavement to reduce noise, according to the report.