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Urban Mining for Low Noise Urban Roads and Optimized Design of Street Canyons

English title Urban Mining for Low Noise Urban Roads and Optimized Design of Street Canyons
Applicant Poulikakos Lily
Number 178991
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Eidg. Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt (EMPA)
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology - EMPA
Main discipline Civil Engineering
Start/End 01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022
Approved amount 998'128.00
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Keywords (4)

Urban sound planning ; Low noise pavements; Construction Demolition Waste; environmental assessments

Lay Summary (German)

Verkehrslärm stellt insbesondere im urbanen Raum mit der zunehmenden baulichen Verdichtung eine bedeutende Umweltbelastung dar und ist für grosse gesundheitliche Nachteile in der Gesellschaft verantwortlich. Städte und Agglomerationen suchen daher intensiv nach Lärmminderungsmöglichkeiten und Strategien zur akustischen Aufwertung des Strassenraums.
Lay summary

Dieses multidisziplinäre Projekt unterstützt diese Anstrengungen indem es durch Entwicklung von neuen Belägen die Möglichkeiten zur Minderung der Schallentstehung auslotet, Massnahmen auf dem Ausbreitungsweg durch geeignete Gestaltung der Oberflächen sowohl physikalisch als auch subjektiv evaluiert und ein auf dem DALY Konzept der WHO basierendes Modell zur Bewertung der gesundheitlichen Auswirkungen unter Berücksichtigung von räumlichen Aspekten und zeitlichen Auftretensmustern entwirft. Besonderes Augenmerk wird dabei auch auf die Schaffung von öffentlichen Aussenräumen hoher Aufenthaltsqualität gelegt, da diese bis zu einem gewissen Grad eine anderweitige höhere Lärmbelastung kompensieren können.

Ein zentrales Anliegen des Projekts ist die Wiederverwendung von Abfallstoffen in urbanen Raum, insbesondere bei der Entwicklung von lärmarmen Belägen. Nebst der akustischen Bewertung wird dazu auch ein Life Cycle Assessment gehören.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 25.09.2018

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Project partner

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
172456 Towards A sustainable CircuLar Economy - Combining a material flow with a business and policy perspective (TACLE) 01.01.2018 NRP 73 Sustainable Economy
154049 Optimisation of industrial waste-to-energy (WtE) and resource recovery systems 01.03.2015 NRP 70 Energy Turnaround
149618 TAURA: Traffic Noise Auralisator 01.07.2014 Project funding
154006 Optimising the energy recovery and the sustainability of Swiss municipal solid waste management 01.10.2014 NRP 70 Energy Turnaround
157122 High Performance Aggregates for Sustainable Road Pavements 01.04.2015 Project funding


A recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that in the EU and Nor-way, traffic noise is the second biggest environmental problem affecting health after air pollu-tion (WHO, 2012). Comparative burden studies suggest that, after particulate matter, noise is the second major cause of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) lost. This new health evi-dence highlights the urgency of adopting more stringent noise standards and implementing noise reduction technologies. In order to assess quantitatively the health impacts of noise emissions, new models need to account for spatial and temporal conditions, which is essential in the case of noise, as fate and exposure are time and space-specific (e.g. depending on population density) and the re-lationships between health effects and emissions are non-linear (thus depending on back-ground noise levels). The measuring unit of the new assessment method will be DALYs lost due to noise emissions, consistent with the World Health Organization.It is clear that the inhabitants of the urban environment are exposed to high levels of noise and increase in amounts of waste. One way to mitigate their exposure to noise is to take ad-vantage of the existing public spaces between buildings and transform the available surfaces of pavements and buildings in urban canyons and parking spaces into elements that foster comfort and health for urban residents. To date, the potential to use public space surfaces for noise mitigation has not been fully exploited. A considerable amount of waste produced in the urban and peri-urban environment can be recycled in asphalt roads. However although technically viable, materials should be consid-ered only if their use in the roads are also environmentally superior. For example the amount of crushed concrete will increase and will continue to be available in the near future (Guerra and Kast. 2015, Heeren and Hellweg in review 2017), and the best use of this material may indeed be road construction.This project aims to use a multi-disciplinary approach to advance our fundamental knowledge about low noise road surfaces and 1) Develop low noise pavements to improve comfort and health of urban dwellers focusing on noise mitigation. 2) Target certain waste materials from the urban environment, for the purpose of producing low noise pavements. 3) Exploration of the noise reduction potential by modification of absorption and reflection properties of the surfaces that form urban street canyons and evaluation of the measures from a subjective point of view by auralization and listening tests.4) the results from 3) will be used to improve and extend existing methods for noise health assessment in Life Cycle Impact Assessment, and the new models will be embedded into a full Life Cycle assessment of the new pavements.