TyreWearMapping: Tire and road wear particles in Germany

Spread and quantification of tire and road wear particles in air and water#

© Fraunhofer UMSICHT

Tire and road wear particles

Over time, car tires lose substance and release tiny particles.

© Fraunhofer UMSICHT

Spread of particles

From the road, the particles get into the air, soil, and water.

Project aims#

Over time, car tires lose substance and release tiny particles in the form of fine dust and microplastics. The joint project TyreWearMapping investigates the influence of tire and road wear particles on the environment throughout Germany. A digital planning and decision-making tool is being developed to enable the distribution, spread, and quantification of tire and road wear particles.

Benefits#

In the context of various environmental problems, the tire and road wear particles have been a controversial issue for years: It has been proven that abrasion is one of the causes of fine dust pollution in cities and one of the largest sources of microplastics in the environment. So far, however, there has been no comprehensive study on the quantities and distribution routes of tire and road wear particles in Germany. The "TyreWearMapping" project is closing this knowledge gap for the first time by compiling and evaluating extensive data on the emission and spread of tire and road wear particles.

Results#

Distribution paths of tire and road wear particles

The project investigates, models and presents the spread of tire and road wear particles from the road to air and water. The researchers use mobility, geo and weather data from the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) for this. The catchment areas of two rivers are examined as examples: the Wupper in North Rhine-Westphalia and the Panke, a tributary of the Spree, in Berlin. Various methods are used to evaluate the data and calculate dispersion: in addition to probabilistic modeling, a new approach based on neural networks is also used. For example, the data allow conclusions to be drawn about where (freeway vs. city center) and under which conditions (weather) tire and road wear particles occur particularly frequently. The distribution paths of the particles are visualized using GIS-based maps.

Application of the results

The TyreWearMapping project expands the knowledge base on the subject of tire and road wear particles in Germany while mapping the particles throughout the country. In doing so, it contributes to making the environmental policy debates in this area more objective and to highlighting solutions. Knowledge of tire and road wear particle hotspots will make it possible, for example, to implement more targeted regulatory measures such as filter systems on road drains, structural measures or speed limits. The project results will also be implemented in a digital planning and decision-making tool, which will be continuously further developed with the participation of external actors. The tool can help to plan infrastructures inside and outside cities and thus contribute to reducing tire and road wear particles in the environment over the long term.

Project partners#

  • iMA Richter & Röckle GmbH & Co. KG
  • Ingenieurgesellschaft Prof. Dr. Sieker mbH

Funding
Duration: November 2017 to April 2020
Website: www.bmvi.de