Current Trends in Environmental Noise Monitoring in Europe

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Introduction

This paper briefly describes the state of the art of environmental noise monitoring development in Europe, including the needs, standards, legislation, data, technology, techniques and tools. This paper will concentrate on the following areas:

• How Imagine and the development of ISO 20906 and ISO 1996 affect noise monitoring systems
• The need and role of professional databases and the move towards noise management
• How modern technology affects the design of state-of-the-art noise monitoring systems
• Important design factors in noise monitoring terminals

The Effect of New Standardisation on Noise Monitoring Systems

Overview

The Imagine project [1] and the development of ISO 20906 aircraft noise monitoring [2] and ISO 1996 environmental noise assessment [3] standards affect noise monitoring systems.

The Imagine Project

One of the work packages in the European Imagine project, due to be completed at the end of 2006, will define measurement methods that can be used to demonstrate the reliability of calculated noise maps using measurements. The harmonized noise mapping indicators, LDEN and LNight, are longterm (annual) average levels due to a specific source category (road, rail, aircraft or industry) at 1.5 or 4 m height, corrected to average weather conditions [4]. This affects how levels are measured:

• Noise monitoring must be used in order to measure statistically representative long-term levels, e.g. weekday night-time levels, weekday rush hour levels, etc, even when shorter measurement periods are used. These can be combined to provide annual average levels. If operation conditions (e.g. traffic flows) vary, then they also may need recording while measuring noise.

• As the levels required are source-specific, residual noise (i.e. noise from other sources) must be insignificant, placing demands on measurement position, or removed in some qualified and documented way. Specific noise extraction can be done in several ways, the most well-known of these being event detection triggered by the actual acoustic signal
• The measured levels must represent long-term average weather conditions (i.e. weather conditions that are typical over a 10 year period). Unless close to the major source, this will require weather data, representative of both the average and for the actual measurement period so that noise levels can be corrected to be representative. This data could come from local meteorological stations, if available, but may need to be measured at the noise monitoring site A cost-effective mobile system could cover several positions over a year. Automated position reporting, based on GPS technology, would be beneficial and reduce the risk of human error.

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