Low frequency noise impact from road traffic according to different noise prediction methods

Sci Total Environ. 2015 Feb 1;505:658-69. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.10.052. Epub 2014 Oct 29.

Abstract

The European Noise Directive 2002/49/EC requires to draw up noise action plans. Most of the implemented solutions consist in using barriers, even if some studies evidenced that annoyance could increase after their installation. This action dumps the high frequencies, decreasing the masking effect on low ones. Therefore, people annoyance and complaints may increase despite the mitigation. This can happen even in pedestrian zones near main roads due to the screening effect of first buildings row. In this paper, the authors analyze the post-operam screening effects in terms of low frequency noise. The difference between C- and A-weighted levels is calculated as annoyance indicator (LC-A). Different methods able to map noise with octave bands detail are tested in order to establish differences in the estimates of annoyance exposure. In particular, a comparison is carried out between data from interim method NMPB 96, its updated version 2008, NORD 2000 and those provided by a customized procedure through ISO 9613 propagation and Statistical Pass By measurements. Test sites are simulated in order to validate each model results through measurements. Results are discussed for real locations in Pisa city center and virtual scenarios in a rising scale of complexity.

Keywords: Annoyance; Low frequency; Noise mapping; Standard method comparison.