Quieter cities of the future
The health effects of road traffic noise in cities are severe and constitute a threat to public health. Immission goals in the form of guideline values were formulated in many countries in the 1960s. The guidelines have remained rather unchanged but often been much exceeded in practice. Now, the scientific basis for health-based targets has become strong.
A one-day forum was held in Innsbruck in September 2013. Its purpose was to clarify the effectiveness of present methods and policies. The forum was unique in bringing together noise control experts covering the whole chain from source to receiver including the health effects of the resulting immissions.
There is no single technological fix available to decrease the adverse health effects. The road traffic noise problems cannot get reasonable solutions only through emission reductions even with foreseeable best technology. Present methods to measure and describe the emissions are neither sufficient nor adequate.
Conclusions were drawn on what is needed and what can and should be done in terms of policy to substantially reduce the adverse health effects of traffic noise. A concerted action by several involved bodies is needed.