Exploiting ground effects for surface transport noise abatement

Keith Attenborough 1 , Imran Bashir 2 ,  and Shahram Taherzadeh 1
  • 1 Engineering and Innovation, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UK
  • 2 Department of Renewable Energy, University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus, TR10 9EZ, UK


Growing demand on transportation, road and railway networks has increased the risk of annoyance from these sources and the need to optimise noise mitigation. The potential traffic noise reduction arising from use of acoustically-soft surfaces and artificial roughness (0.3 m high or less) is explored through laboratory experiments, outdoor measurements at short and medium ranges and predictions. Although the applicability of ground treatments depends on the space usable for the noise abatement and the receiver position, replacing acousticallyhard ground by acoustically-soft ground without or with crops and introducing artificial roughness configurations could achieve noise reduction along surface transport corridors without breaking line of sight between source and receiver, thereby proving useful alternatives to noise barriers. A particularly successful roughness design has the form of a square lattice which is found to offer a similar insertion loss to regularly-spaced parallel wall arrays of the same height but twice the width. The lattice design has less dependence on azimuthal source-receiver angle than parallel wall configurations.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • [1] ISO, Acoustics–Attenuation of Sound During Propagation Outdoors–Part 2: A General Method of Calculation (ISO 9613-2). (ISO, Geneva, Switzerland, 1996)

  • [2] K. Attenborough, K. M. Li, K. Horoshenkov, Predicting Outdoor Sound, Taylor and Francis, London, 2007

  • [3] Annex to Commission Directive 2015/996 inOflcial Journal of the European Union L168 (2015)

  • [4] R. Nota, R. Barelds, D. Van Maercke, Harmonoise WP 3 Engineering method for road traflc and railway noise after validation and fine tuning, Deliverable of WP3 of the HARMONOISE project. Document ID HAR32TR-040922-DGMR20, 2005

  • [5] NORD2000. Comprehensive outdoor sound propagation model. Part 1. Propagation in an atmosphere without significant refraction. Report AV 1849/00 Delta Acoustics http:// www.madebydelta.com/imported/images/DELTA_Web/docume nts/TC/acoustics/Nord2000/av185100rev_Nord2000_Propagat ion_Model2.pdf (date last viewed 11/01/16) (2006)

  • [6] S. Taherzadeh, K. Attenborough, Deduction of ground impedance from measurements of excess attenuation spectra. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1999, 105 2039–2042

  • [7] ANSI/ASA S1.18-2010. American National Standard Method for Determining the Acoustic Impedance of Ground Surfaces (revision of S1.18-1998)

  • [8] NORDTEST ACOU 104. Ground Surfaces: determination of acoustic impedance, 1998. http://doutoramento.schiu.com/referen cias/outras/NT%20ACOU%2014%20-%20Ground%20Surfaces %20Determination%20of%20acoustic%20impedance.%20199 9.pdf (date last viewed 2/01/16)

  • [9] M. Delany, E. N. Bazley, Acoustical properties of fibrous absorbent materials, Appl. Acoust. 1970, 3, 105–116

  • [10] K. Attenborough, I. Bashir, S. Taherzadeh, Outdoor ground impedance models, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2011, 129, 2806–2819

  • [11] D. Dragna, K. Attenborough, P. Blanc-Benon, On the inadvisability of using single parameter models for representing the acoustical properties of ground surfaces, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2015, 138, 2399–2413, dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4931447

  • [12] H. Taraldsen, G. Jonasson, Aspects of ground effect modeling, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2011, 129, 47–53

  • [13] D. Dragna, P. Blanc-Benon, Physically admissible impedance models for time-domain computations of outdoor sound propagation, Acta Acust. united Ac. 2014, 100, 401–410

  • [14] Road noise prediction,2 -Noise propagation computation method including meteorological effects (NMPB 2008), SETRA (2009) downloaded from http://www.setra.developpementdurable. gouv.fr/ (last viewed 02/01/16)

  • [15] G. Guillaume, F. Faure, B. Gauvreau, F. Junker, M. Berengier, Estimation of impedance model input parameter from in situ measurements: Principles and applications, Appl. Acoust. 2015, 95, 27–36

  • [16] J. S. Robertson, P. J. Schlatter, W. L. Siegmann, Sound propagation over impedance discontinuities with the parabolic approximation, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1996, 99, 761–767

  • [17] D. C. Hothersall, J. N. B. Harriott, Approximate models for sound propagation abovemulti-impedance plane boundaries, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1995, 97, 918–926

  • [18] K. B. Rasmussen, Propagation of road traflc noise over level terrain, J. Sound Vib. 1982, 82, 51–61

  • [19] M. Naghieh, S. I. Hayek, Diffraction of a point source by two impedance covered half-planes, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1981, 69, 629–637

  • [20] B. O. Enflo, P. H. Enflo, Sound wave propagation from a point source over a homogeneous surface and over a surface with an impedance discontinuity, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1987, 82, 2123– 2134

  • [21] B. A. de Jong, A. Moerkerken, J. D. van der Toorn, Propagation of sound over grassland and over an earth barrier, Journal of Sound and Vibration 1983, 86, 23–46

  • [22] G. A. Daigle, J. Nicolas, J. L. Berry, Propagation of noise above ground having an impedance discontinuity, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1985, 77, 127–138

  • [23] P. Boulanger, T. Waters-Fuller, K. Attenborough, K. M. Li, Models and measurements of sound propagation from a point source over mixed impedance ground, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1997, 102, 1432–1442

  • [24] Y.W. Lam, M. R. Monazzam, On the modeling of sound propagation over multi-impedance discontinuities using a semiempirical diffraction formulation, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2006, 120, 686–698

  • [25] I. Bashir, Acoustical exploitation of rough, mixed impedance and porous surfaces outdoors, PhD Thesis, Engineering and Innovation, The Open University, 2014

  • [26] (a) D. Aylor, Noise reduction by vegetation and ground, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1972, 51, 197–205 (b) D. Aylor, Sound Transmission through Vegetation in Relation to Leaf Area Density, Leaf Width, and Breadth of Canopy, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1972, 51, 411– 418

  • [27] I. Bashir, S. Taherzadeh, H.-C. Shin, K. Attenborough, Sound propagation over soft ground with and without crops and potential for surface transport noise reduction, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2015, 137, 154–164, http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4904502

  • [28] P. Boulanger, K. Attenborough, S. Taherzadeh, T. Waters-Fuller, K. M. Li, Ground Effect Over Hard Rough Surfaces, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1998, 104, 1474–1482

  • [29] K. Attenborough, T.Waters-Fuller, Effective impedance of rough porous ground surfaces, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2000, 108, 949–956

  • [30] J. P. Chambers, J. M. Sabatier, R. Raspet, Grazing incidence propagation over a soft rough surface, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1997, 102, 55–59

  • [31] A. Whelan, J. P. Chambers, A note on the effects of roughness on acoustic propagation past curved rough surfaces, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2009, 125, EL231–EL235

  • [32] P. Boulanger, K. Attenborough, Q. Qin, Effective impedance of surfaces with porous roughness: Models and data, J. Acoustic. Soc. Am. 2004, 117, 1146–1156

  • [33] I. Tolstoy, Coherent sound scatter from a rough interface between arbitrary fluids with particular reference to roughness element shapes and corrugated surfaces, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1982, 72, 960–972

  • [34] I. Tolstoy, Smoothed boundary conditions, coherent lowfrequency scatter, and boundary modes, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1983, 72, 1–22

  • [35] R. J. Lucas, V. Twersky, Coherent response to a point source irradiating a rough plane, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1984, 76, 1847–1863

  • [36] L. A. M. van der Heijden, M. J.MMartens, Traflc noise reduction by means of surface wave exclusion above parallel grooves in the roadside, Applied Acoustics 1982, 15, 329–339

  • [37] H. Bougdah, I. Ekici, J. Kang, A laboratory investigation of noise reduction by rib-like structures on the ground, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2006, 120, 3714–3722

  • [38] I. Bashir, S. Taherzadeh, K. Attenborough, Diffraction-assisted rough ground effect: models and data, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2013, 133, 1281–1292

  • [39] I. Bashir, S. Taherzadeh, K. Attenborough, Surface waves over periodically spaced strips, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2013, 134, 4691– 4697

  • [40] G. A. Daigle, M. R. Stinson, D. I. Havelock, Experiments on surface waves over a model impedance plane using acoustical pulses, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1996, 99, 1993–2005

  • [41] W. Zhu, M. Stinson, G. A. Daigle, Scattering from impedance gratings and surface wave formation, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2002, 111, 1996–2012

  • [42] W. Zhu, G. A. Daigle, M. Stinson, Experimental and numerical study of air-coupled surface waves generated above strips of finite impedance, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2003, 114, 1243–1253

  • [43] J. P. Chambers, J. M. Sabatier, Recent advances in utilizing acoustics to study surface roughness in agricultural surfaces, Applied Acoustics 2002, 63, 795–812

  • [44] S. Taherzadeh, I. Bashir, T. Hill, K. Attenborough, M. Hornikx, Reduction of surface transport noise by ground roughness, Applied Acoustics 2014, 83, 1–15, DOI: 10.1016/j.apacoust.2014.03.011

  • [45] T van Renterghem, J Forssen, K Attenborough, P Jean, J Defrance, M Hornikx, J Kang, Using natural means to reduce surface transport noise during propagation outdoors, Applied Acoustics 2015, 92, 86–101, DOI: 10.1016/j.apacoust.2015.01.004

  • [46] Environmental Methods for Transport Noise Reduction ed Nilsson et al., Cat/ISBN: Y119572 / 9780415675239 CRC Press an imprint of Taylor and Francis New York, 2014


Journal + Issues

The journal aims to promote and disseminate knowledge on noise mapping through the publication of high quality peer-reviewed papers. The goal of the journal is to be the first and main publishing option for authors writing on noise mapping and related topics, and a hub integrating the relevant research community in the field of environmental noise and soundscape studies.