Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

New road and rail barriers cut noise down to size

New noise barrier technology has been developed to deflect noise away from local surroundings. This will help sustain road and rail transport growth in a world where tolerance for noise is on the decline.
New road and rail barriers cut noise down to size
One of the great conveniences of modern society is the ability to get ourselves from one place to another quickly and safely. Transport is not without its drawbacks, however. Noise from motorways and railways is known to negatively impact both the mental and physical health of those living nearby.

The EU is addressing this issue by implementing increasingly stringent noise standards. New noise abatement techniques must be developed in order for Member States to achieve compliance. This was the goal of the EU-funded 'Innovation of noise barriers: improved noise abatement for motorways and railway tracks' (Calm Tracks and Rout) project.

The research focused on improving an existing noise barrier product, namely the Lärmspoiler® from the project's coordinator, Calma-Tec. Several new prototypes were constructed using advanced materials and shapes to enhance noise refraction, basically deflecting the noise away from local inhabitants. The researchers also tried to alter the noise frequencies to sound 'friendlier' to the ears they were reaching.

Consequently, a new version of the Lärmspoiler® was created that could stand up to the incredible pressure generated by high-speed trains, which are an increasingly popular form of transportation on the continent. An add-on piece of equipment, called the PIN-spoiler, was also developed that can be attached to existing barriers to further reduce noise pollution. Finally, progress was made in reducing the weight of the road barriers without sacrificing strength or durability.

EU-funded efforts such as Calm Tracks and Rout are helping to make road and rail travel sustainable for the future.

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