02 | 2006

VTT unifies evaluation and planning methods of environmental noise

More accurate data improves noise abatement

VTT has unified the methods that make it possible to present noise data in a structural way, such as by means of maps. VTT has also created a model for interactive noise abatement that considers the wishes of the inhabitants.

Up to now, noise studies have used different data acquisition and presentation methods. For this reason, the results have not always been comparable with each other.

In the uniform process, the collection of noise data takes place using computation methods that are widely in use in the Nordic countries or that comply with the EU's Environmental Noise Directive.

The method can be used for establishing the noise level of road traffic, rail traffic, air traffic, industry, shooting ranges and motor-racing tracks, as well as for noise rating and the evaluation of the noise situation's development.

Towards interactive noise abatement

The study has also resulted in a general model for the planning of noise abatement that is based on co-operation and the exchange of information, involving the authorities, entrepreneurs, organisations and individual inhabitants.

The model is intended for municipal officials responsible for noise abatement. As an example, it is suitable for the formulation of noise abatement action plans. Planning varies by municipality, so the model is loose. In addition to the municipalities, the Civil Aviation Administration, the Finnish Rail Administration and the road districts can also utilize the model.

Directive requires noise abatement plans

The adverse effects of environmental noise have multiplied as a result of the growth in the density of the population and the increase in traffic. There are over a million people in Finland that live in an area where the average level of environmental noise exceeds the recommended value of 55 decibels.

The EU's environmental noise directive sets forth that by 2008 a long-term noise abatement action plan has to be drawn up in areas where there are over 250,000 inhabitants, followed by municipalities of over 100,000 inhabitants at a later stage.

The directive's first stage requires different noise studies in 2007. The uniform process includes recommendations on how to carry them out. 

The other participants in the study co-ordinated by VTT were Noiscase Oy and Diskurssi Oy.


Additional information

VTT is an impartial expert organisation. Its objective is to develop new technologies, create new innovations and value added thus increasing customer's competencies. With its know how VTT produces research, development, testing and information services to public sector and companies as well as international organisations.