As reported by the European Environment Agency, noise generated by road traffic is a major environmental problem in Europe. At least 20% of the EU population lives in areas where traffic noise levels are harmful to human health, causing annoyance, sleep disturbance, anxiety, hearing damage and stress-related cardiovascular problems. It is estimated that 113 million people are affected by long-term day-evening-night traffic noise levels of at least 55 dB(A). Thus, the goal of the EU is to cut by half the use of conventionally-fuelled cars in urban transport by 2030, phase them out in these areas by 2050, and achieve essentially CO2-free city logistics in major cities by 2030.
The overall objective of the LIFE SNEAK project is the reduction of noise from roads in the densely populated urban area of Florence, where traffic noise and vibrations’ combine to cause severe disturbance to the population. This will be achieved by means of low-noise/vibration surfaces and retrofitting solutions with life cycle costs comparable to those of traditional surfaces.
In particular, the project will facilitate:
- Reduction of noise deriving from the superposition of air-borne noise and ground/structure-borne noise;
- Use of “quiet pavements” to mitigate air-born noise (rail-wheel and pavement-tyre), also by minimising pavement-tyre interaction effects and their propagation;
- Reduction of squeal noise through a system of sound-absorbing panels (made of recycled material) and of a prototype system to be installed on trams;
- Reduction of annoyance due to noise and vibrations generated by roads and tramways;
- Promotion at European level of the proposed solutions for noise pollution.
The project will contribute to the implementation of EU Directive 2015/996/EC and Common Noise Assessment Methods in Europe (CNOSSOS-EU), the EU Environment Noise Directive (2002/49/EC), and the European Green Deal (COM/2019/640 final).
- Collection of updated information on the positive environmental impacts due to the use of tramways as an alternative to buses and traditional vehicular traffic;
- Implementation of a pilot pavement (width 10 m; length 150 m) for vibro-acoustic mitigation (lower generation factors and mechanic impedance-related effects), mixing recycled materials and innovative technologies;
- Design and testing of a prototype system made up of bogie skirts, on-board absorbing panels and watering system to be installed on trams to reduce squeal noise;
- Implementation of a survey on annoyance due to combined tramway noise and vibrations;
- Noise reduction of at least 3 dB(A) Lden/Lnight and CPX (method to evaluate tyre/road noise) at 50 km/h of 3.5 dB(A) in the pilot area of Florence where a new tramway line and road noise intersect;
- Noise reduction due to sound absorbing panels (by 5 dB) and due to bogie skirts/spray water system on trams (by 20 dB);
- Reduction of vibration magnitude (m/s2) by 5% related to the innovative bituminous mixture for pavements;
- Reduction, by at least 25%, of the number of people annoyed by noise pollution;
- Reduction of the life cycle cost of the low-noise surfaces made of recycled materials by 10%.