Wahid Hassan has vivid memories of the noise generated — day in and day out — in his hometown of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Traffic and horns from minibuses, large crowds of people, loud speakers from vendors hawking their goods in the streets — all are factors that contribute to what’s considered a leading environmental nuisance.
Such noise, it turns out, has significant effects on people’s health — from increased blood pressure and stress, to difficulties sleeping and concentrating, to changes in social behaviors.
To mitigate noise from traffic, some transportation departments are constructing sound barrier walls. Others plant trees along the side of the road. Both approaches, however, are costly.
Hassan, a master’s student in civil engineering at the University of Idaho since January 2016, wants to do something that will advance the quality of life in his country. That made him a good fit to join College of Engineering Associate Professor Emad Kassem’s research in understanding the pavement characteristics that lead to unwanted noise between pavement and tires.
“When a tire rotates, noise is generated due to tire-pavement interaction, which isn’t desirable to the resident who lives nearby highway,” Hassan said.
Hassan received his bachelor’s in civil engineering from the Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST) in Dhaka in 2013. He then worked as a lecturer at AUST for two years.
He heard of U of I’s reputation as a premier research institution from a friend who had received his master’s degree from U of I in civil engineering. He also spoke with students and professors at who talked about the high-tech equipment and high-caliber research opportunities.
But the real inspiration to pursue a degree in civil engineering came from his dad.
“My dad told me to take a career in civil engineering because considering the condition of our country, it’s the best way to deliver something to our nation,” Hassan said. “So while I was applying for a master’s, I was trying to do something that would help my country in the future.”
After graduating from U of I, Hassan wants experience in the field before beginning a doctoral program. Then he plans to return to Dhaka to apply his research there.
“I think the Bangladesh government will be open to noise absorption pavement materials,” he said. “But I need to have the proper budget and plan for what I want to do. So if everything goes well, then I’ll continue doing research in that field.”
Article by Kate Keenan, College of Art and Architecture
Published in Spring 2018