Tire-Pavement noise is an increasing concern among local, state and national governments. They are studying the effects of Tire-Pavement noise. Tire Pavement noise levels vary according to pavement type, pavement texture, age, time, traffic loading, and distance away from the pavement Methods for reducing noise are gaining traction due to concern by the public, regulations are also in place to protect the public.

The amount of noise from car tires increases as cars travel faster. People located near highways or busy roads are affected tire noise. A CDOT study found that asphalt mixtures, smaller nominal maximum aggregate size (NMAS) typically leads to lower tire-pavement noise. Tire pavement noise has been found to be the main source of highway noise according to the FHWA.

Quiet Pavement Pilot Programs

The Federal Highway Administration introduced the Quiet Pavement Pilot Program is 2005 which was started by the Arizona Department of Transportation. At the time people were not certain whether noise from exhausts, engines or tires was the main culprit.
The QPPP’s are intended to demonstrate the effectiveness of quiet pavement strategies and to evaluate any changes in their noise mitigation properties over time. Current knowledge on changes over time is extremely limited. Thus, the programs will collect data and information for at least a 5-10 year period, after which the FHWA will determine if policy changes to a State DOT(s) noise program are warranted.

The QPPP’s are intended to demonstrate the effectiveness of quiet pavement strategies and to evaluate any changes in their noise mitigation properties over time. Current knowledge on changes over time is extremely limited. Thus, the programs will collect data and information for at least a 5-10 year period, after which the FHWA will determine if policy changes to a State DOT(s) noise program are warranted.

  • The stated goals were:
    “The QPPP’s will accomplish the following:
    Account for documented noise reduction benefits of pavement types by adjusting predicted (modeled) highway traffic noise levels in project noise analyses (this may either reduce the number of identified traffic noise impacts or reduce the height of noise barriers that are required to mitigate identified traffic noise impacts);
  • Include post-construction monitoring for the projects to collect acoustic, texture, and frictional characteristics (monitoring will be performed for at least 5-10 years);
  • Document the general public’s reaction to the noise reduction capabilities of specific pavement types; and
  • Include commitments to take appropriate actions to provide required noise reduction into perpetuity.
  • At Highway speeds the primary noise has been attributed to Tire Pavement noise.

    What can be done about it?

    Certain types of asphalt produce less noise and certain tires produce less noise. Government regulation is the primary means of reducing noise over time. In the meantime, Barrier walls and trees can reduce noise to nearby neighborhoods.