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Temperature Effects Study


U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Natural Environment
Washington, D.C. 20590


November 2010
Final Report


The Volpe Center Acoustics Facility, in support of the Federal Highway Administration, investigated the influence of temperature on tire/pavement noise in order to provide guidance on correcting for temperature variations in measured sound levels. Several traffic noise and vehicle pass-by data sets with broad variation in both pavement and air temperatures were examined to help determine trends relating to the effects of temperature. The parameters investigated include: air vs. pavement temperature, single vehicle types vs. mixed traffic, and pavement type. Since the effects of temperature appeared to be fairly small over temperature ranges available for the data sets examined, care was taken to apply the proper statistics to determine if the slope of the regression line for sound level as a function of temperature was, in fact, not zero. Results show that there is usually a trend of slightly decreasing sound levels with increasing temperatures, although the strength of the effect varies by temperature measurement medium (air vs. pavement), vehicle type, and pavement type, and there are exceptions. The application of various temperature correction schemes to wayside measured data shows that it is possible to reduce error related to temperature variations, but one should do so cautiously, with the understanding that application of generic or semi-generic corrections may lead to an unnecessary or unfavorable outcome in some cases.

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Updated: 7/15/2011
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