TRAFFIC NOISE AND ITS IMPACT ON HEALTH

Sudarshan.k
11MEE0023

Contents : Abstract objective introduction Decibel Why abate traffic noise WHO survey countries affected Effects References

Objective
1.To find out the cause of traffic noise by available tools to reduce its impact on human health. 2.To compare impact on other countries compared to european contries.

What is Decibel (dB) ?

The decibel (dB) is a measure of sound intensity; that is, the magnitude of the fluctuations in air pressure caused by sound waves. The decibel scale is logarithmic, not arithmetic. This means that a doubling of sound intensity is not represented as a doubling of the decibel level. Decibels are usually measured with a filter that emphasizes sounds in certain frequencies.

Recent estimates indicate that more than 30% of EU citizens are exposed to road traffic noise levels above that viewed acceptable by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and that about 10% of the population report severe sleep disturbance because of transport noise at night [116]. In addition to the general disruption of activities and quality of life, there are additional adverse health and financial effects. According to OECD [117], the threshold of annoyance is 55 dB(A) in terms of average traffic noise level outside and the threshold of unacceptability is only 10 dB(A) higher: 65 dB(A). Now, the difference in vehicle noise emission between a noisy and a silent road surface can be much more than 10 dB(A), which means that the road surface alone could make the difference between a comfortably quiet road and a disturbingly noisy road.

Traffic noise has a variety of adverse impacts on human health. Community noise, including traffic noise, is already recognised as a serious public health problem by the World Health Organization, WHO. · Of all the adverse effects of traffic noise the most widespread is simply annoyance. · There is also substantial evidence for traffic noise disturbing sleep patterns, affecting cognitive functioning (especially in children) and contributing to certain cardiovascular diseases. For raised blood pressure, the evidence is increasing. For mental illness, however, the evidence is still only limited. · The health effects of noise are not distributed uniformly across society, with vulnerable groups like children, the elderly, the sick and the poor suffering most.

· In 2000, more than 44% of the EU251 population (about 210 million people) were regularly exposed to over 55 dB of road traffic noise, a level potentially dangerous to health. In addition, 35 million people in the EU25 (about 7%) are exposed to rail traffic noise above 55 dB. Millions of people indeed experience health effects due to traffic noise. For example, about 57 million people are annoyed by road traffic noise, 42% of them seriously. · A preliminary analysis shows that each year over 245,000 people in the EU25 are affected by cardiovascular diseases that can be traced to traffic noise. About 20% of these people (almost 50,000) suffer a lethal heart attack, thereby dying prematurely. · The annual health loss due to traffic noise increased between 1980 and 2000 and is expected to increase up to 2020. In contrast, traffic safety has improved, following implementation of a variety of policy measures.

Why abate traffic noise?

According to the WHO noise can have a wide variety of adverse effects on human health and/or well-being: • Pain and hearing fatigue • Hearing impairment including tinnitus • Annoyance • Interferences with social behaviour (aggressiveness, protest and helplessness) • Sleep disturbances and all its consequences on a long and short basis • Cardiovascular effects • Hormonal responses (stress hormones) and their possible consequences on human metabolism (nutrition) and immune system • Performance at work and/or school decrements

How many people are affected?

According to a European Union (EU) publication: about 40% of the population in EU countries is exposed to road traffic noise at levels exceeding 55 db(A); 20% is exposed to levels exceeding 65 dB(A) during the daytime

More than 30% is exposed to levels exceeding 55 dB(A) at night.

Countries affected most
Austria belgium denmark finland france Germany ireland italy neitherland poland portugal romania slovakia spain sweden united kingdom

Noise reduction options :
1.At-source versus end-of pipe measures

2.Transport noise regulation: the legal framework
3.Vehicle noise regulation 4 Tyre noise limits too high to be effective 5.Low-noise road pavements 6.Source oriented measures

7.Speed reduction and traffic management Anti-propagation measures (noise barriers,
insulation)

References
1 Traffic noise reduction in Europe :Health effects, social costs and technical and policy options to reduce road and rail traffic noise 2. Babisch, 2006 W. Babish Transportation Noise and Cardiovascular Risk : Review and Synthesis of Epidemiological Studies, Dose Effect Curve and Risk Estimation Berlin : UBA, 2006 3.Berg, 2003 M. van den Berg, et al. Valuation of noise : position paper S.l. : Working group on Health and Socio-economic aspects, 2003

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4. DRI, 2004 Traffic management and noise reducing pavements : Recommendations on additional noise reducing measures Danish Road Institute Copenhagen : Ministry of transport and energy, 2004 5. Dutch Ministry of Transport, 2006 Evaluatie 80 km zones (Evaluation of 80-km zones (in Dutch), letter from the Minister of Transport to the Dutch parliament, DGP/WV/u.06.02308, 2006 6. EC, 2006 Noise classification of road pavements :Task 1: Technical background information, Draft report COWI Brussels : European Commission - DG Environment, 2006 7.A review of current research on road surface noise reduction techniques P.g.abbot, P.a. morgan

8. Berglund et al., 1999 B. Berglund, T. Lindvall, D.H. Schwela Guidelines for Community Noise London : WHO (World Health Organisation), 1999 9. Bluhm et al., 2006 G.L. Bluhm, N, Berglind, E. Nordling, M. Rosenlund Road traffic noise and hypertension In: Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2007;64:122-1261 10. Ellebjerg Larsen et al., 2002 L. Ellebjerg Larsen, H. Bendtsen, B. Mikkelsen Traffic noise annoyance : A survey, in: Aarhus, Odense & Randers Lyngby : Danish Transport Review Institute, 2002

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