Strategic level assessment of the health effects of transport noise

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Brown, AL
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David J Mee and Ian D.M Hillock

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Gold Coast, Australia


Noise generated by surface and air transport is routinely considered in EIA of transport projects. Sophisticated tools are utilised in prediction, noise mitigation, and assessment of noise impacts. These estimate human annoyance - even though there is a well-documented range of health effects of transport noise beyond annoyance. Focus on "annoyance" alone has had two important consequences. Firstly, it tends to have little traction with decision-makers. Secondly, despite the availability of assessment tools at the project level, there has been little consideration of transport noise at strategic levels. The extent of annoyance is a useful criterion in choosing between alternative highway routes at the project level, but not to assess impact of, say, area-wide transport options. This has now changed. Accumulated evidence regarding health effects of environmental noise has been published by the WHO Regional Office for Europe as initial guidance for quantitative risk assessment of environmental noise-based on Environmental Burden of Disease (EBD) methodology and the metric Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALY). Synthesized reviews of health effects of environmental noise (cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbance, annoyance, hearing impairment and tinnitus), and exemplary estimates of the burden of its health outcomes now allow for inclusion of transportation noise in quantitative Heath Impact Assessments at aggregated strategic levels-in regional or national transport planning, and in assessment of policy options such as road pricing, land use planning, energy costs, modal shifts etc. that can influence the exposure of populations to transport noise at strategic levels

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Australian Acoustical SocietyConference 2011, Acoustics 2011: Breaking New Ground

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© 2011 Australian Acoustical Society. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the conference's website for access to the definitive, published version.

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Environmental assessment and monitoring

Other built environment and design not elsewhere classified

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