Transport noise and its impact

Transport noise and its impact
Copyright: DLR, AS

Noise is an underestimated topic, although noise may harm people on a physiological and psychological level. According to a study by the German Environmental Protection Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA) more than half of Germany´s population is disturbed by road traffic noise. About one third of the population feels bothered by rail noise and about 23 % perturbed by aircraft noise. The VEU project analyses transport noise with a flexible forecasting procedure that includes the whole chain of sound-impacts as well as future transport developments.

New research approaches

Conventional calculations mostly only measure sound levels of ongoing noise.In the VEU project, however, noise is measured across its whole range with new procedures – from its generation and transmission to sound propogation and characteristics. Microphone array techniques are used in this, combined with video recording when measuring with directional microphones. This allows the causes of noise to be better understood, e.g. what proportion of car noise comes from the engine, tires or road surface, or what role braking, tracks and curves play in train noise.

Copyright: Mikael Altemark cc-by-sa/

Finely detailed modeling

The research findings are combined in models with further VEU transport development data. This enables precise assessments of future noise pollution. The noise research also incorporates factors such as demographic change, regional classifications and urban structures.

The health risk of traffic noise

Copyright: DLR

The effects of noise on people, especially on sleep, are also empirically analyzed. While air and rail transport has been studied, the gaps in data on road transport are being filled with new field studies.

Solving problems

In addition, potential noise-reduction measures are tested – both technical, e.g. silent brakes, new tires and asphalt surfaces etc., and behavioral, e.g.speed limits, economic instruments etc.