There are about 80 million people in Europe that are exposed daily to too high traffic noise levels, and that for this reason risk the onset of serious illnesses. There are numerous intervention strategies against traffic noise pollution, such as, for instance, the reduction of speed limits, the use of soundproof asphalts, the installation of noise control barriers, or the insulation of built-up areas.
That is one of the topics to be covered during the AIA-DAGA 2013 Conference, one of the main international meetings devoted to acoustics themes, to be held on March 18th thru 21st in Merano.
The choice of different interventions aimed at noise reduction changes according to the proximity of buildings to the noise source, to the particular morphological structure of the territory, and whether an urban or extra-urban settlement are concerned. Modified asphalts with the addition of End of Life Tyres derived rubber allow a significant noise reduction caused by vehicles transit, that can even reach 5dB, corresponding to half the discomfort deriving from perceived noise; therefore they can be an effective solution to diminish traffic noise.
The addition of ELT recycled rubber to asphalts bitumen makes it possible to obtain a road surface that, besides being more noiseless, better stands up to seasonal damages, to cracks and deformation, and offers an excellent water drainage, improving visibility and braking distance in case of rain.
In the USA this kind of asphalts has been used for over 40 years, and there are States that are transforming their whole road network into “rubberized asphalts”. There are about fifty similar experiences in Italy, though characterized more by an experimental than a systemic approach.
Recently, in Val Venosta, in the Autonomous Region of Bozen, a project has been started aimed at measuring the sound-proofing characteristics of these asphalts, in particular comparing them with the usual mostly adopted solution to limit transit noise outside urban centres, i.e. noise control barriers. Besides confirming their efficacy in terms of noise reduction, the monitoring and the analyses performed have shown that “rubberized” asphalts are economically more convenient compared to noise control barriers, also considering their entire service life, estimated around 30 years.
The adoption of an intervention strategy aimed at effectively solving noise problems would significantly improve the quality of life of quite a lot of people, besides saving a relevant amount of money for the State cash. That is possible thanks to End of Life Tyres rubberized asphalts, besides having the highest standard of long-lasting, safer and more silent road surface.