How noisy is your neighborhood? – The Irish Times
Changes to the rules governing tyres, road surfaces and speed limits are being considered by local authorities to reduce noise on urban and national roads, but change is not simple and every action has a consequence.
Some believe that increasing sales of quieter EV cars will help solve the problem, but, in reality, EVs are only quieter when they are being driven at less than 40 kmph – this Above a car’s tires are responsible for most of the noise heard, not the engine.
The mix of tyres, speeds and surfaces will figure prominently in the Environmental Protection Agency’s upcoming noise action plans, but the solutions are “far from simple”, the agency acknowledged in an interview with the Irish Times.
Studies have shown that changing tire tread can reduce noise but this can affect road safety and that changing the materials used in urban road surfaces can reduce local noise levels, motorways But doing so can be dangerous. More research is needed.
“Noise maps” taking in decibel levels from roads, railways and airports, where applicable, are prepared every five years and submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency. The strategies followed to manage the noise are called noise action plans.
The Noise Action Plan 2018 -2023 in the Dublin region identifies “undesirable noise levels” as greater than 55 decibels at night and greater than 70 during the day.
The greatest noise is found on roads, particularly the M50 and its adjacent national roads, as well as Dublin Airport and parts of the city centre.
Noise levels in excess of 75 decibels – which can damage hearing over time – were observed along most of the M50 from the M11 to the M50, as well as several main access roads including the M11, M7 (Red Cow), M4 and M4. and M2.
An interactive version of the EPA’s noise map can be viewed at Here
Noise levels around the airport tended to be between 55 and 59 decibels. However, the EPA stated that the map on which it was based was prior to the opening of the second runway. A management plan is being drawn up by Fingal County Council in relation to the airport.
High noise levels were also found at Temple Bar, Westmoreland Street and the Pearse Street/Tara Street corner, where levels were cited as exceeding 75 decibels.
Noise levels around the Luas lines were as low as 55 decibels. Higher values of up to 69 decibels were found in areas adjacent to major roads. Similar situation was found with DART line also.
Mitigation measures outlined by Dublin City Council include “traffic avoidance schemes that combine walking, cycling and public transport” as well as “speed reduction schemes, which include partial access areas, to smooth traffic flow”. and reducing driving speed” and “traffic flow transfer ie diverting traffic”. non-residential, less sensitive routes”.
Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Council has “put forward two priority actions”. Its “several pedestrian and cycle priority measures”, the council said, have “the effect of reducing the amount of noise-generating car traffic”. The second measure is to refurbish the carriageway surface of the N11 and N31 in collaboration with Transport Infrastructure Ireland.
An EPA spokesman said that speed, tires and road surface will be the most prominent considerations in upcoming noise action plans. However, he added that noise mitigation was “far from simple”. He said studies showed that reducing tire tread could reduce noise but was a threat in terms of road safety. While there may be some scope for changing the composition of the road surface in an urban setting, this can be potentially dangerous on motorways at high speed limits. He said more research was needed.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland said that replacing some road surfaces, particularly in urban centres, would require more frequent replacement with new surfaces, creating more carbon emissions. The spokeswoman agreed that the noise issue was complex, as lower speeds with resulting gear changes could lead to higher emissions.