BACKGROUND: Noise barriers have been used for many years as a noise mitigation measure. Although noise barriers are costly to build, they require minimal maintenance and maintain their noise reduction features for a substantially long period. Noise barriers are considered when noise impacts are identified and when noise abatement is constructible, provides a meaningful noise reduction, is cost-reasonable to build, and is desired by the public. Great advances in quiet pavement technology in recent years merit consideration of such technology as an alternative to noise barriers; however issues with such pavements need to be considered. Among these issues are cost, maintenance requirements, and the ability to maintain noise reduction features over time.
Title 23 Part 772 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (23 CFR 772) requires that noise analysis be performed for specific types of projects when potentially impacted receivers are present. Although this regulation identifies several noise mitigation measures, it does not include pavements as a noise abatement measure. With this limitation, pavement technology cannot be considered as a means for noise abatement in Federal-Aid highway projects, although it could provide the desired acoustic features at a lower cost than noise barriers. There is a need to develop methodologies for evaluating the feasibility, reasonableness, effectiveness, and longevity of acoustic and economic features of pavement strategies and barriers used for noise mitigation. Such methodologies will demonstrate the potential of quiet pavement technology as a noise abatement measure and thus assist with the selection of the measure that will provide the desired acoustic characteristics while yielding cost savings.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this research was to develop methodologies for evaluating the feasibility, reasonableness, effectiveness, and longevity of acoustic and economic features of pavement strategies and barriers used for noise mitigation.
Status: The project is complete; the final report has been published as NCHRP Report 738 available at: