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Research Report 656 Evidential basis for community response to land transport noise

Published: | Category: Environmental sustainability , Research programme , Research & reports | Audience: General

Environmental noise caused by road and rail traffic can cause a range of disturbance and annoyance reactions amongst local communities.

The threshold at which individuals will be annoyed by these sources of noise will vary depending on the expectations of the respondent and their sensitivity to noise.

A community noise annoyance study was performed in Auckland, New Zealand to determine the noise dose-response relationship based on a comparison of short-term changes in noise compared with existing steady-state conditions.

Due to limitations, a revised study design was implemented and three study areas were selected:

  1. subject to transportation noise from an existing state highway
  2. a newly constructed but un-opened road
  3. an existing rail line. A social survey of community response was undertaken within the three study areas.

A percentage highly annoyed (%HA) analysis was undertaken for each study area and the findings compared with meta-analysis data obtained from a comprehensive literature review.

Out of a list of 10 sources of environmental noise, road traffic was rated most annoying and for the rail study area, trains were rated fifth most annoying noise source.

The %HA analysis compared well with other studies, although in each case the onset of annoyance occurred at a marginally lower sound level.

Further work is recommended to establish the relationship between short-term changes in noise compared with existing steady-state conditions.

Keywords: acoustics, annoyance, disturbance, health, sleep, community, New Zealand, NZ Transport Agency, noise, road, rail, transport

Publication details

  • Author:
  • Published: June 2019
  • Reference: 656
  • ISBN/ISSN: 978-1-98-856138-7