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Community Noise Research Strategy Plan

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport policies
Environmental/Emissions aspects
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

Noise is a serious environmental problem throughout Europe. About 20 percent of the population is highly annoyed by environmental noise especially stemming from transportation. In the vicinity of very busy roads and airports the exposure to noise can be so strong that it may cause detrimental effects on health. The European Commission has started a new policy towards a quieter environment. It is based on a coherent set of regulations to limit the emission of noise from various sources and to assess and reduce the total exposure to environmental noise.

To support the further development of the EU noise policy, the European Commission has supported the creation of a new thematic network "CALM". It will define the strategic plan for future noise research which is required to promote EU wide noise reduction and to improve the quality of life in Europe.


The CALM network aimed to establish a Community Noise Research Strategy Plan based on the work and reports of expert Noise Working Groups appointed by the European Commission and in cooperation with the relevant industry sectors, research institutions and interest organisations. The aim was to clearly identify links and gaps between current noise abatement technology and future EU noise reduction and regulation goals in the fields of air traffic, road and rail transport, marine technologies and outdoor equipment.


The work on the CALM project encompassed the following activities and methods:

  • Noise Working Groups on Health and Socio-economic Aspects, Assessment of Exposure to Noise, Railway Noise, Outdoor Equipment, Road Transport Noise and Airport Noise;
  • CALM Workshops with Stakeholders and European Research Advisory Councils;
  • Studies on Road Traffic Noise and Noise from Outdoor Equipment;
  • Conferences and publications to disseminate the findings of the project.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission, Directorate-General for Research (DG Research)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


The proposed vision for the development of noise policy up until 2020 is to avoid harmful effects of noise exposure from all sources and to preserve quiet areas. The vision has to be translated into specific targets and into time frames for the achievement of these targets. In many cases, the achievement of targets is dependent on new technological approaches, which must come from research initiatives. However, research is not only needed to turn regulation into practice but in many cases, initial research is needed in order to design and establish sensible regulations. Thus, research and regulation policy constitute an interactive loop.

There are technical and legal principles at play which policy has to consider in reducing environmental noise. Technical action includes avoiding and reducing noise at the source, reducing it from where it is propagated and reducing it at the receiver’s end. Legally, there are several ways of looking at the problem. These are the ‘polluter pays’ principle, the precautionary principle, co-operation approach – seeing it as a common challenge for everyone – and the ‘subsidiarity’ and shared responsibility principle, which means decision-making on how to mitigate noise pollution should be made as close as possible to the citizens.

The project has set the research priorities for environmental noise reduction in accordance with the goals of the EU noise policy, as outlined below.

The Environmental Noise Directive requires strategic noise maps based on the new harmonised noise indicators and on common methods. However, dose-effect relationships are currently unavailable . The following research requirements have been identified:

  • Advanced noise mapping methods
  • Availability of noise mapping input data
  • Improved measures of the dose-effect relationships between noise emission and noise perception (to improve assessment of noise nuisance like annoyance or sleep disturbance)

On the basis of the strategic noise maps, authorities must draw up action plans to reduce noise where necessary and to maintain environmental noise quality where it is good. EU guidelines are to be produced to help member states develop action plans. This requires research into the economic aspects of noise pollution and noise abatement (improved cost-benefit analyses and cost distribution), and into how to optimise the organisation of abatement work at different a

Technical Implications

See policy implications.

Policy implications

The cornerstones of current and future noise policy in Europe are the Environmental Noise Directive and the set of source-specific emission-related directives. Experience has shown, however, that for the future development of effective emission-related directives, there must be a research-based focus on real-world situations, including environmental health. Otherwise, stricter theoretical noise emission limits will not result in reduction of environmental noise in practice.

Europe continues to need major efforts in research, if its citizens are to be freed from burden of unacceptably high levels of noise pollution. Future environmental noise reduction will depend, for its effectiveness and efficiency, on a well-balanced portfolio of research into noise emission, noise propagation, noise immission and human perception of noise. A co-ordinated programme of research in all these fields is of vital importance to the development of improved noise control strategies and improved regulatory legislation. For the effectiveness of research, the coordination of European and national activities including the research advisory councils of the different sectors is also of vital importance. Stakeholders supporting this research will develop improved products leading to a strengthening of their competitiveness in the international market.

The outcome of future research applied to all thematic areas of environmental noise will substantially support a sustainalble development towards a quieter Europe.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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