Growing demand on transportation, road and railway networks has increased the risk of annoyance from these sources and the need to optimise noise mitigation. The potential traffic noise reduction arising from use of acoustically-soft surfaces and artificial roughness (0.3 m high or less) is explored through laboratory experiments, outdoor measurements at short and medium ranges and predictions. Although the applicability of ground treatments depends on the space usable for the noise abatement and the receiver position, replacing acousticallyhard ground by acoustically-soft ground without or with crops and introducing artificial roughness configurations could achieve noise reduction along surface transport corridors without breaking line of sight between source and receiver, thereby proving useful alternatives to noise barriers. A particularly successful roughness design has the form of a square lattice which is found to offer a similar insertion loss to regularly-spaced parallel wall arrays of the same height but twice the width. The lattice design has less dependence on azimuthal source-receiver angle than parallel wall configurations.