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New report suggests solutions to reduce traffic noise

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy XINHUA | Wed,Jul 02 2014 00:00:00 EAT
By XINHUA | Wed,Jul 02 2014 00:00:00 EAT

STOCKHOLM: Solutions for reducing adverse health effects caused by traffic noise are suggested in a report by researchers from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, according to a statement of the university released on Tuesday.

"In recent years, the scientific basis for assessment has broadened considerably. But the legislation to protect residents of unhealthy noise levels is completely inadequate," Tor Kihlman, Professor Emeritus of Applied Acoustics at Chalmers, was quoted as saying in the statement.

The report is a summary of a meeting initiated by Tor Kihlman and Wolfgang Kropp between international experts from the automotive industry, universities and government agencies to discuss technical possibilities to achieve better urban environments.

Kihlman argued that no simple technical solution exists for solving the traffic noise problem, neither at the source nor for preventing noise from reaching ears.

Thus in order to achieve improvements, concerted actions from everyone involved are required, but such coordination of actions is lacking today. The division of responsibilities is unclear.

"Many of the needed measures are ideal for implementation in dense cities. They are often in line with what is required to tackle climate change. Here are double benefits to point to," said Kihlman, mentioning three examples: the procurement of quiet public transport, reduced speed, and the usage of buildings as as effective noise barriers, through good urban planning.

In the report, the current type tests for new vehicles in the European Union are regarded as inadequate to control traffic noise emissions in the city. Therefore, new methods for requirement setting are needed so as to have a better control of the traffic noise from the source.

Another solution suggested in the report is to decrease rolling noise through "quiet pavement" by developing methods for criteria on tyre and road surface properties.

It is mentioned that speed control, e.g. setting special speed limits to public transportation vehicles, is a source-related measure, but this is not effective if not combined with noise emission limits for the vehicles at speeds well below 50 km/h.

"The problems with traffic noise from roads cannot be satisfactorily resolved by only taking actions at the source of the noise, not with foreseeable technology. Therefore, the report is also covering planning and construction measures," said Kihlman.

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