As car and truck engines have become quieter and cleaner over the past decades, particulate and noise emissions from road-tyre interaction have become the dominant source of traffic-generated particulate emission and traffic noise. Both particulates (airborne or as microplastics) and noise are suspected to contribute to negative health outcomes for those living near busy roads.
Currently, non-exhaust particulate emissions are not regulated. Tyre noise is subject to labelling for passenger vehicles, but not yet for trucks. Legislation is in preparation but will require a solid body of evidence of the mechanisms of generation, dispersion and potential health effects of both particulate and noise emissions, in order to introduce measures that are effective and widely accepted.
LEON-T will contribute to this body of evidence by investigating both particulate and noise emissions from tyres, and in doing so define and propose practical standardised methods for both lab and road testing—of tyre abrasion rate (mostly larger particles) and airborne particulate emissions. We will also further investigate and model the dispersion and environmental fate of these particulate emissions, as they form a sizeable fraction of microplastics found in the environment.
The potential effects of tyre noise on cardiovascular health will be investigated using waking tests and sleep studies. Here we will consider not just average sound pressure level, but also sound qualities such as tonality and timbre—as these can be influenced by tyre and road surface design.
The insights gained in these investigations will be used to optimise the design, prototyping and demonstration of a novel airless tyre, which we expect will combine reduced noise, wear and emissions with high safety, reliability and comfort.
LEON-T will make policy recommendations to mitigate against potential health hazards caused by tyre particulate and noise emissions.