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  Psychoacoustic effect of road markings
HEAD News Herzogenrath (Germany), August 10, 2015
Psychoacoustic effect of road markings
More than half of the German population feels disturbed or annoyed by noise from road traffic. But what are the exact influences on the noise emissions? Engine noise, tire/road noise, or aerodynamic noise? In fact, the most important cause of road traffic noise is tire/road noise. It broadly depends on the structure of the road surface and on the tire properties. In addition, driving over road markings can result in increased noise emissions. Besides a higher sound pressure level, the psychoacoustic properties of these markings can lead to a higher degree of annoyance and thus to increased noise nuisance. 
By order of the German Federal Highway Research Institute (Bundesanstalt für Straßenwesen), HEAD acoustics has examined various types of road markings and their noise emissions from a psychoacoustic point of view. 
For this purpose, the noise caused by vehicles driving over road markings was measured with artificial head systems positioned at various distances from the road. Afterwards, the recordings were analyzed acoustically and psychoacoustically and also assessed perceptively in listening tests. 
Three different types of agglomerate markings (one regular and two irregular types) were chosen for the tests, which were then driven over with various combinations of vehicle type, tire type, and speed. In addition, simulations were created for assessing the noise from very long distances (> 60 m / 200 ft) and with different marking constellations (continuous vs. broken lines). 
It turned out that both the increase of the sound pressure level and the psychoacoustic characteristics of the emitted noise depend on the type of marking being driven over. Furthermore, it was found that the degree of nuisance mainly depends on loudness and tonality, which can be reliably predicted with an algorithm. 
In combination with the conducted simulations, it was possible to derive equivalent level increases as well as minimum distances to residential buildings. For the regular agglomerate marking that was examined and for which noise emissions caused a high degree of nuisance due to a high tonality, an equivalent level increase of up to 10 dB(A) was determined. In comparison, the irregular agglomerate markings were considerably less critical from a psychoacoustic point of view and can therefore be recommended for reducing noise emissions in road traffic. 
This report is based on parts of the research study conducted by order of the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, represented by the Federal Highway Research Institute, under FE no. 02.0353/2012/IRB.
The sole responsibility for the content rests with the author.
Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur (editor): Müller, Maurice / Telle, Aulis / Fiebig, André: “Psychoakustische Wirkung von Fahrbahnmarkierungen”, in: “Forschung Straßenbau und Straßenverkehrstechnik”, volume 1116, Bonn, 2015.
The Federal Highway Research Institute (Bundesanstalt für Straßenwesen, BASt) is an application-oriented, technological and scientific research institution of the Federal Republic of Germany in the area of road technology. It provides science-based decision-making support to the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur, BMVI) regarding both technology and transport policy. Its tasks range from the planning, coordination, and execution of multi-year research projects to short-term answering of questions for supporting the everyday work of the BMVI.
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About HEAD acoustics GmbH:
HEAD acoustics has developed into one of the world's leading specialists in the fields of sound and vibration analyses and optimization. For more than 25 years HEAD acoustics has developed products and solutions for artificial head recording and playback technology, exceptional acquisition and analysis software and techniques, and communication measurement technology.
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