On 24th August 2015, about seventy delegates from fifteen countries gathered in BRRC’s auditorium at Sterrebeek to attend the final PERSUADE seminar (acronym of PoroElastic Road SUrface: an innovation to Avoid Damages to the Environment).
The objective of this six-year European research project (September 1, 2009 – August 31, 2015) led by BRRC was to develop a safe and durable poroelastic road surface, as a means to control road traffic noise.
A poroelastic road surface is composed of rubber granules (from recycled car tyres), small-sized stone aggregate and a number of additives, which are bound with an elastic synthetic resin (polyurethane). It contains no bitumen and must, therefore, not be confused with rubberized asphalt.
Earlier experiments had demonstrated that such a road surface can reduce road traffic noise by 7 to 12 dB. For comparison, a 4 m high noise screen has a noise-abating effect of about 8 dB.
However, durability was inadequate, especially for fretting and adhesion to the underlying layer. Further extensive research was necessary to improve those aspects and to find the answers to a number of pending questions.
Road infrastructure should enable rainwater to be evacuated as soon as possible, so as to minimize disruption to traffic. This can be done in several ways: local infiltration, water-permeable road structure, or drainage by channels and gullies.
Today we are faced with climate change, resulting in irregular occurrence of extreme local peaks of precipitation.
Ever since it was established, BRRC has been assigned to promote technological progress in road construction through research and development. Over the years, the Centre has built a solid practice in serving professionals through technical and documentary assistance.
Global warming is caused mainly by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases, in which CO2 emissions play a major part. Prompted by a number of developments such as the Kyoto protocol, road managers, road contractors and material producers try to reduce emissions. The transport sector is responsible for approximately 25 % of all greenhouse gas emissions, with the greater part being due to road transport. Energy consumption is also closely monitored in the road construction sector. Road managers and contractors have an interest in quantifying greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption.
The right choice of structure and constituent layers is a primary concern to designers in both the private (engineering consultants, architects) and the public sector (technical departments of municipalities, provinces and regions) who have to make designs for new roads or for maintenance, renovation and adaptation works to existing infrastructure.
The Portable Friction Tester allows continuous measurements of the skid resistance of road markings and road surfaces over a given distance, in situations where the British pendulum tester (portable skid resistance tester) cannot be used.
The everyday life of road workers is often fraught with danger. High travel speeds and disrespectful drivers are an unwanted component to the environment of road workers, making it difficult for them to accomplish their tasks. High speed means there is little time for the driver to detect the work zone and, in event of an accident, the consequences will be more severe.
After developing a harmonized frameword for collecting data on accidents (due to interaction with traffic) involving road workers, the BRoWSER project will provide road authorities with the necessary tools for collecting and presenting such data.