Cutting noise with quiet asphalt and traffic lane management

News Published 08 Nov 2011 Last modified 25 Aug 2016
2 min read
Photo: © hirondellecanada |
Noise pollution affects many Europeans, and for some, it is not only a nuisance - it can also trigger serious disease. Tuesday evening, at a prestigious ceremony in London, the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the Noise Abatement Society (NAS) presented the European Soundscape Award for the first time to raise awareness and recognise initiatives that help reduce noise levels. The winner was a Dutch project which was commended for its integrated traffic noise reduction scheme.

Across Europe, at least 100 million people are exposed to damaging levels of noise just from road traffic. Exposure to unwanted noise can cause stress and interfere with sleep, rest and study. Moreover, prolonged exposure can also trigger serious illness such as hypertension and heart disease. 

The EEA and NAS have teamed up to raise awareness about the impacts of noise and to reward European initiatives in the field of noise control or soundscape management. Organisers encouraged any product, campaign, innovation or scheme offering a creative solution to the problem of noise to submit an application for the new European Soundscape Award. The EEA and NAS received 16 entries from 12 countries, covering a wide range of noise-related topics. 

The winner of the European Soundscape Award 2011

The Dutch province of Gelderland and the municipality of Wijchen won the European Soundscape Award 2011 for their sustainable and integrated traffic noise reduction solution in the village of Alverna. The winning project has combined a range of innovative measures to reduce noise levels. The measures consist of:

  • Moving and reducing the number of traffic lanes
  • Sinking the road by 0.5m
  • Constructing low-level sound barriers of 1m on each side of the road
  • Using special ‘quiet’ asphalt 
  • Reducing the speed limit from 80 to 50 km/h in Alverna

These measures meant planners were able to achieve the same effect as installing the usual unattractive, 4m-high noise barriers.The project also includes a tree planting scheme to create attractive pedestrianised areas. In addition to the noise reduction benefits, the full package of measures also increases road safety, reduces fuel use, helps improve air quality and quality of life in the village.

 Noise reduction solution in Alverna

The winning team:

Gosse Noordewier, Marcel Thijsen, Tanja Moliers, Tryfon Roelofs, Henk Derks, Municipality of Wijchen & Province of Gelderland, European Soundscape Award Winners


The runner-up award was presented to the Dutch Noise Abatement Society for the ‘Electric Heroes – Go smart, go electric’ campaign to encourage the uptake of electric scooters in The Hague and Zaanstad. 



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