Pavement and Vehicle Noise

Choosing the right pavement can help reduce noise from vehicles.

Noise can be defined as an undesired on unpleasant sound. Nobody likes a lot of noise, especially if that noise is the constant hum and roar of vehicles moving. Noise from vehicles comes from three main sources:

  1. Air passing over and around the vehicle.
  2. The engine, drive system, and exhaust of the vehicle.
  3. The tire-pavement noise. 

If you wish to have less sound around your house or place of commerce, it’s good to try to focus on number three: the tire-pavement noise.

Why is it good to reduce noise?

There are plentiful reasons to want to have less noise in your life. They range from mild inconveniences to genuine health risks. Another term for unwanted sound is noise pollution.

Noise builds stress

Having a constant background noise, especially if loud or discordant, creates stress. Do you ever wonder why it can be so hard to sleep on airplanes? The noise of the moving engine builds up internal stress in a person, especially when that person can’t move away from the noise.

The same happens to people at home or in offices when they are buffeted by the constant noise from a nearby road or highway.

Noise can cause hearing loss

This is a genuine health threat from constant noise. Thanks to our industrialized society, loud noises are a fact of life. Construction work is a major offender, as well as loud music, passing planes, and of course, vehicles. 

People who have been exposed to sustained heavy noise over a long period often develop hearing loss. The small hairs in the ear that vibrate to stimulate the eardrum can eventually break, the result is often tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and loss of hearing. 

Noise pollution is a threat to both people and wildlife. Read more about the detriments posed by noise pollution here.

How pavement can reduce noise

Changing the texture of the pavement is what primarily reduces the noise. The less friction involved, the more silently a vehicle travels. When there is less friction, there are less scraping, and humming noises coming from the contact of the vehicle’s tires with the asphalt.

Choosing the right pavement for noise reduction

Picking a pavement that reduces noise can have benefits and drawbacks. Make sure to carefully choose how you want your asphalt to be, and consider the other factors as well when making your choice.

Reducing noise on new asphalt pavement

How to

Use durable, open graded, rubberized asphalt. Open graded asphalt has purposefully designed voids within to allow water drainage. Rubberized asphalt is made from recycled materials (often old tires) blended with asphalt to produce a binder. The binder is then mixed with conventional aggregates.

Economics

Rubberized and open graded asphalt often has a shorter life than other forms of asphalt. This means repairs and replacement will be necessary more often, which can incur higher costs. 

However, the use of more recycled materials in the asphalt also provides a benefit. Landfills need less space for tires. As the asphalt is repaired and renovated, more “garbage” is used in the recycling process, lowering overall waste.

Impact

The lower sounds reduce stress in people and wildlife. The livability of neighborhoods with this type of pavement often improves.

Reducing noise on old asphalt pavement

How to
Perform repairs and coat with sealant. Repairing cracks make the pavement more uniform, as openings like potholes are a significant and disrupting source of noise pollution. Pavement preservation also reduces the formation of new fault lines, cracks, and holes in the pavement. A great way to preserve existing pavement is to seal coat it. Seal coating also has various other benefits for pavement.

Economics

Seal coating and preserving pavement is always a smart economic move. The pavement will last longer, be more durable, and require less emergency care. Seal coating is one of the main ways to reduce future pavement preservation expenses.

Impact

Because the noise is dependent on the pavement, it depends more on vehicle use. Needless to say, the smoother the pavement is, the quieter vehicles will be as they travel over it. The noise reduction improves living standards in surrounding neighborhoods and puts less stress on wildlife.

Other things to keep in mind

Friction

Keeping pavement smooth and friction-low are the two main ways of decreasing vehicle noise in a high-traffic area. However, without friction, cars won’t be able to drive at all. Friction is what gives the tires grip on the ground. 

If you are planning on installing low-friction, low-noise pavement, be absolutely sure that it provides enough friction for safe driving.

Noise pollution is nothing new, and it’s here to stay

From the advent of conversation noise pollution has been a thing. Whether it’s from unwanted music, traffic, or heavy machinery, noise pollution isn’t going away any time soon. 

Make sure that the area where you are installing the pavement will actually make a difference when it comes to noise reduction. It’s possible that a parking lot is too far away from a business to affect what’s happening inside the building. People usually drive slowly on parking lots, so a low-noise paving solution might not even be noticeable, depending on the pavement you are using. 

You can read about various countries’ studies on noise-reducing pavement and the effects in this report.

What pavement is right for you?

If you are looking to have some asphalt paving done in and around Texas, we’re the team for you. We offer paving solutions of all kinds, backed up by over 35 years of experience. Our team of over 200 can get massive jobs done in a timely and cost-effective manner. Our offerings include asphalt paving and repair, concrete repair, seal coating, parking lot striping, and assurance of ADA compliance. Reliable Paving are the asphalt paving contractors who can get the job done. If you have questions about noise-reducing paving, or anything else paving-related, get in touch with us today.