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HEAD News Herzogenrath (Germany), May, 2014
Targeted measurements of road traffic
Practical measurement of the noise situation by a highway
Road traffic noise is the strongest perceived ambient noise pollution today. In order to reduce its negative impact on the health of citizens, various noise reduction approaches are being considered. In the area of road traffic this includes, for example, general speed limits that are valid for all vehicles and are intended to reduce noise levels. The question is; how effective are these measures, and what is the role of vehicle-noise character with regard to noise pollution?
As a first step, it is important to identify disturbing noise sources on a busy road in order to initiate suitable countermeasures. Some major questions need to be answered for a targeted reduction of traffic nuisance, which can even impair people’s quality of life. Which vehicles worsen the noise situation more than others, and which characteristics do they have in common? The type of vehicle, its passing speed and its position on the road also play a role. Another requirement is the attribution of audible noise components to individual vehicles, tire noise, exhaust system, air intake, etc.
For our measurements, a HEAD VISOR mounted on a bridge was pointed towards a loud section of the road, and the traffic noise was recorded. The HEAD VISOR technology allows measurements to be taken quickly and easily at any location. The measurement results can be evaluated directly on site. With these measurements, information was acquired as to how loud each individual vehicle was and how it sounded. When evaluating the traffic noise, the first thing that became apparent was a broad-band background noise. It is mainly a superposition of the tire noise of all vehicles nearby. In addition, however, individual tonal components stood out for the duration of a pass-by, which were assessed as particularly annoying (see figures). It is assumed that the psychoacoustic characteristics of the vehicles on a noisy road particularly attract the attention of human perception and significantly influence and even worsen the judgment of the overall noise situation. Such measurement results should be taken into account when deriving targeted measures for reducing pass-by noise on highways, as they show how much influence tonal components of vehicles passing by have on the overall noise impression.
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