Approximately 80% of the European population lives in urban areas. Noise, pollution and insecurity are the three issues which raise the most concern among urban inhabitants. According to the OECD, approximately 50% of the Europeans living in urban areas suffer from exposure to noise levels higher than the tolerance levels defined by the World Health Organisation. In its 5th Environment Action Programme, the EU considered noise as one of its priorities. A Green Paper entitled Future Noise Policy was published in November 1996. It recommended harmonising, coordinating and comparing the policies of the member states. Directive 2002/49/EC on the assessment and management of environmental noise was adopted in 25 June 2002, during the course of the project.
The objective of the project was to elaborate and validate integrated tools to plan and manage road traffic noise in an urban context. The tools were required to integrate the parameters of traffic, road building and management within land management with a view to sustainability. The tools were intended to be used by local authorities in their management of cities but could also be used by any actor concerned with the issue. The project was later amended to include railway noise as one of the parameters.
The project successfully developed tools making it possible to apprehend the parameters that influence road traffic noise from the point of view of the sustainable management of traffic and of roadway equipment (coating, zone 30, speed bumps...) in urban development. This was done in close cooperation with the cities of Brussels, Birmingham and Lyon, and experiments were carried out in all three cities.
The project proposed a set of decision-making tools which could be used by any urban entity seeking to integrate the management and planning of urban noise into their environmental policy. It offers cities and urban areas proposals for good practices with regard to the implementation of the Directive 2002/49.
The methodology for a noise mapping project at the scale of a city like Brussels was developed. The methodology integrates the computerisation, validation, use and dissemination of noise maps. A Vademecum for road traffic noise was produced.
The project was also part of the general debate on noise, particularly in light of the new Directive 2002/49/EC relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise.
The following tasks were carried out during the project:
- Experimentation with computer-assisted urban noise calculation tool:
- Identification of the different calculation tools existing on the market; evaluation and selection of the most suitable tool for the urban environment.
- Elaboration of a representation of the noise situation of the whole Brussels Capital Region: drawing of road traffic and railways noise maps. Drawing of conflict map for the road traffic maps.
- Setting up of two noise measuring stations, interpretation and analysis of the results.
- Validation of the calculation tool by reference to specific cases.
Design of tools:
- Identification of noise parameters and constraints.
- Integration, combination and determination of the links and hierarchy between different noise parameters.
- Design and drawing up of preliminary recommendations.
- Description of real situations.
- Sensitivity analysis and relative importance of noise parameters.
- Identification of stakeholders, their need and their reality.
- Evaluation of the methodology transferability.
Evaluation of tool:
- Verification of internal coherence of the tool.
- Verification of coherence by reference to the reality of cities (noise measurements).
- Tests with users.
Dissemination of the results:
- Presentation of the project at several workshops.
- Organization in Brussels of an international workshop attended by 200 persons.
- Realization of a video feature.
- Publication of guides targeted and adapted to users.
- Publication of educational report on the calculation of urban noise and technical files
- Construction of a website: still ongoing at time of writing.