Electric mobility and “silent” asphalt with recycled materials against noise pollution: two European projects in Italy.
Ecopneus Partners to Create Quiet Asphalt
The LIFE Nereide and LIFE E-Via projects, funded by the European Union through the Life programme, study a response to noise pollution caused by traffic in urban centres, which affects 100 million people across Europe every year.
An ideal city would certainly have quiet streets, populated by electric cars capable of improving not only the quality of the air we breathe, thanks to lower CO2 emissions, but also the acoustic impact of everyday travel.
In Italy, two European projects funded by the LIFE program are underway, Life Nereide and Life E-Via, which intend to bring solutions for noise pollution, one of the environmental problems that most affects the health and quality of life of the European population.
It is a problem that, although often underestimated, "makes itself felt", and for this reason Italy is putting in place the best skills to find solutions.
The European Environment Agency (EEA) estimates that in Europe there are over 100 million citizens exposed in a prolonged manner to excessive noise levels, and due to this they risk serious health consequences.
If the urban contexts are considered, the situation becomes complicated; here the traffic noises are more intense and harmful, so much so that they are harmful to the health of almost one in three people. It has been estimated by the EEA that night road noise pollution, even more harmful to health, affects at least 20 per cent of the European population living in urban areas. So, how can the psychophysical well-being of citizens be safeguarded from the risks caused by noise pollution?
Some of the most effective actions introduced are the creation of low-noise road pavements obtained with recycled materials and exploiting the positive impact of a progressive diffusion of electric mobility.
Created to analyse the possible benefits of an ever-increasing diffusion of these solutions, Life Nereide and Life E-Via are two projects that are part of Life, the programme for actions in favour of the environment and climate, which can create added value for the whole of Europe.
The Life Nereide project, which is about to end, has led to the definition of the best solutions to create extremely quiet and sustainable floors, capable of effectively reducing traffic noise by up to 5db thanks to the intelligent use of recycled materials such as recycled rubber dust and the recycled milled asphalt, that is the asphalt removed from old pavements.
The project is led by the Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering of the University of Pisa and sees as partners the Tuscany Region, Arpat - Regional Agency for the Environmental Protection of Tuscany, the Belgian Research Centre BRRC, IDASC-CNR and Ecopneus. Thanks to the project, 12 different bituminous mixtures were defined and laid on different roads in Tuscany; Acoustic measurements on pavements and population surveys were then carried out, to understand the real life impacts on those who live near high-traffic roads.
If the Life Nereide Project has focused on the study of "silent" road surfaces, the Life E-Via Project, on the other hand, tackles the problem by focusing on the potential for use of electric and hybrid vehicles, studying their tyre-road interaction to identify and implement noise mitigation measures, through the optimisation of both electric vehicle tyres and the road surface, also through the development of a new “silent” asphalt studied with an approach similar to that adopted by the LIFE Nereide project.
The project involves the Municipality of Florence as a partner, as Coordinator, Continental, iPOOL sr, l, the Gustave Eiffel University, the University of Mediterranean Studies of Reggio Calabria and Vie.en.ro.se Ingegneria S.r.l.
A webinar on the subject of noise pollution will be held on 14 May, promoted by the LIFE E-Via project, which will also be attended by the representatives of the Life Nereide project for sharing experiences and results. Silent road surfaces and the potential of electric mobility can therefore be the key to tackling the problem of noise pollution. Sustainability is a key element of both projects, as well as the technical-scientific skills that Italy has to deploy. Another key element is the need to raise awareness in an increasing number of people about the negative health effects of noise pollution and to promote effective and environmentally friendly solutions.