People exposed to traffic noise in european agglomerations from noise maps. A critical review

kade rechteroever

Two of the main objectives of the European Directive on environmental noise are, firstly, to unify acoustic indices for assessing environmental noise and, secondly, to standardize assessment methodologies. The ultimate goal is to objectively and comparably manage the impact and evolution of environmental noise caused both by urban agglomerations and by traffic infrastructures (roads, rails and airports).

The use of common indices and methodologies (together with five-year plan assessment required by the authorities in charge) should show how noise pollution levels are evolving plus the effectiveness of corrective measures implemented in the action plans.

In this paper, available results from numerous European agglomerations (with particular emphasis on Spanish agglomerations) are compared and analysed.

The impact and its evolution are based on the percentage of people exposed to noise. More specifically, it demonstrates the impact caused by road traffic, which proves to be the main noise source in all agglomerations.

In many cases, the results are extremely remarkable. In some case, the results are illogical. For such cases, it can be concluded that either assessment methodologies have been significantly amended or the input variables to the calculation programs have been remarkably changed.

The uncertainty associated with the results is such that, in our opinion, no conclusions can be drawn concerning the effectiveness of remedial measures designed within the action plans after the Directive’s first implementation Phase.

Miguel Arana / Ricardo San Martin / Juan C. Salinas

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De Gruyter