Asphalt — The Smooth and Quiet Alternative
Studies have demonstrated the fact that pavement smoothness is a significant determinant of vehicle fuel economy. The smoother the pavement, the lower a vehicle’s fuel consumption. But which tends to be smoother, asphalt or concrete? Well, one indication comes from Iowa’s DOT standards, which have specifications for newly built roads. If the road does not meet the standard, the contractor’s pay is reduced. Some states have different standards for asphalt and concrete, and in every state where this is the case, the requirements for asphalt roads are more stringent than for concrete roads.
Smoother pavements also last longer because truck tires roll easier along the pavement instead of bouncing on bumps — and such bouncing actually accelerates road deterioration. Studies show that improving pavement smoothness by 25 percent results in almost a 10 percent increase in pavement longevity.
Noise, including road noise, is a pervasive form of environmental pollution. There is no better way to reduce road noise than to treat the problem at its source. By paving roads and highways with asphalt, the noise generated by at the tire-pavement interface — noise that affects people as they go about their daily lives — can be significantly reduced. Paving with asphalt is actually more effective than building expensive, unsightly noise walls.