Why should you care about pavement surface characteristics?
If you are a driver:
You can feel the vibration caused by the roughness of a pavement surface. This is a key component of pavement surface characteristics (PSC). Excess vibration at certain frequencies may not only cause discomfort but may even lead to health problems. Fuel economy and vehicle and tire wear are also adversely affected. PSC also includes pavement friction. If not carefully considered, this may lead to an unsafe situation. Finally, driving is stressful enough, and excess noise due to the interaction between the tires and the pavement can sometimes add to this. A key PSC is tire-pavement noise, which can be reduced if proper measures are taken.
If you live or work near busy roads:
You may be annoyed by traffic noise. While more intuitive sources of noise such as vehicle engine and exhaust systems can be significant, these effects are quite often only dominant on lower speed city streets. For those adjacent to high-speed facilities (highways and freeways), tire-pavement noise becomes dominant, thus making this an important PSC. If traffic noise affects you, you may wish to know how to reduce traffic noise without the use of costly (and sometimes unsightly) sound barriers.
If you are a pavement engineer or road owner:
You may want to find out how to design, build, and maintain the optimum (ideal) pavement. Included in this decision making process is the desire for a quiet, smooth, safe, and durable surface. These issues are often complicated by competing interests and public demands. How can we truly achieve a win-win solution?