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INTERSTATE 95 EXPRESS LANES FUNDAMENTALS OF TRAFFIC NOISE. Paul M. Kohler Noise Abatement Program Manager. WHAT IS NOISE?. Noise is unwanted sound. It is perceived differently by every person. Can be irritating to one person may be tolerant to another.

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interstate 95 express lanes fundamentals of traffic noise

INTERSTATE 95 EXPRESS LANES FUNDAMENTALS OF TRAFFIC NOISE

Paul M. Kohler

Noise Abatement Program Manager

what is noise
WHAT IS NOISE?
  • Noise is unwanted sound.
  • It is perceived differently by every person.
  • Can be irritating to one person may be tolerant to another.
  • Sound is transmitted by pressure variations in the air from its source.
  • Most sound sources are characterized as a point or lines sources.
point vs line source
POINT vs. LINE SOURCE
  • A point source occurs when a sound source is stationary (e.g. a horn).
  • Sound radiates equally in all directions.
  • Noise levels for a point source decreases by 6 decibels per doubling of distance.
point vs line source1
POINT vs. LINE SOURCE
  • A line source occurs when many source are moving in a line (e.g. traffic noise).
  • Noise levels for a line source decreases by 3 decibels per doubling of distance.
    • Example: If you experience 60 decibels at 50 feet then you would experience 57 decibels at 100 feet.
the decibel
THE DECIBEL
  • Noise is measured in decibels on a logarithmic scale. This scale does not work the same way as most other familiar scales.
the decibel1
THE DECIBEL

≠ 279 dB

the decibel2
THE DECIBEL
  • An increase in 10 decibels is considered as twice as loud to the average listener.
the decibel3
THE DECIBEL
  • Doubling of the sound source causes noise levels to increase by 3 decibels.
the decibel7
THE DECIBEL
  • Community of practice among Federal and State DOTs is to use a noise level impact threshold associated with interference of speech communication.
  • Annoyance, sleep and task interference is not practicable since noise is perceived differently by every person.
  • 67 decibels is considered to be impacting normal speech at a 3-foot distance.
the noise model
THE NOISE MODEL
  • Traffic Noise Model 2.5 (TNM)
  • TNM used to predict and assess noise levels in future (design) year.
  • TNM went through an extensive validation effort to ensure its accuracy.
  • April 14, 2004 FHWA mandated the use of TNM.
the noise model1
THE NOISE MODEL
  • Noise Model Inputs
    • Noise Sensitive Receptors
    • Proposed design alternative
    • Traffic (volume, speed, composition)
    • Propagation Features (Cut/Fill Lines, Building Rows, Ground Zones, etc.)
    • Existing or Proposed Barriers
the noise model2
THE NOISE MODEL
  • Noise Model Results
    • Noise levels (existing, design year, mitigated)
    • Barrier design information
mitigation
MITIGATION
  • Where do we place the sound wall?
    • Between the source and the receiver.
mitigation1
MITIGATION
  • Is there an optimal location?
    • Yes but it depends on the terrain, existing utilities, and structures (bridges, signs and culverts) which is balanced among these variables.
mitigation2
MITIGATION
  • How high should we design the wall?
    • That depends on where noise impacts occur.
    • Was the line of sight broken?

Sound walls will not totally eliminate traffic noise.

criterion
CRITERION
  • Warranted
    • Predicted highway traffic noise levels (for the design year) approach or exceed the highway traffic noise abatement criteria in Table 1. “Approach” has been defined by VDOT as 1 dB(A) below the noise abatement criteria.
    • A substantial noise increase has been defined by VDOT as a 10 dB(A) increase above existing noise levels for all noise-sensitive exterior activity categories. A 10 dB(A) increase in noise reflects the generally accepted range of a perceived doubling of the loudness.
criterion1
CRITERION
  • Feasible
    • (1) at least a 5 dB(A) highway traffic noise reduction at impacted receptors. Per 23 CFR 772 FHWA requires the highway agency to determine the number of impacted receptors required to achieve at least 5 dB(A) of reduction. VDOT requires that fifty percent (50%) or more of the impacted receptors experience 5 dB(A) or more of insertion loss to be feasible; and;
    • (2) the determination that it is possible to design and construct the noise abatement measure. The factors related to the design and construction include: safety, barrier height, topography, drainage, utilities, and maintenance of the abatement measure, maintenance access to adjacent properties, and general access to adjacent properties (i.e. arterial widening projects).
criterion2
CRITERION
  • Reasonable
    • Viewpoints of the benefited receptors: Fifty percent (50%) or more of the respondents shall be required to favor the noise abatement measure in determining reasonableness.
    • Cost-effectiveness: VDOT’s noise barrier cost effectiveness value is based upon a Maximum Square Footage of Abatement per Benefited Receptor (MaxSF/BR) value of 1,600.
    • Noise Reduction Design Goals: VDOT’s design goal is 7 dB(A) of insertion loss for at least one impacted receptor.
voting process
VOTING PROCESS
  • Method of obtaining votes: certified mailings, public meeting, etc.
    • Regardless of method, the vote (whether or not there is a desire for a barrier) of each benefited receptor must be documented.
  • Who can vote: only the owners and residents of those receptor units that will be benefited by the proposed mitigation may vote.
    • The owner/resident of each benefited receptor unit shall be entitled to one vote of equal value.
  • 50% or more must be in favor of a proposed noise barrier in order for that noise barrier to be considered further.
    • Votes will be tallied on a noise barrier by noise barrier basis.
  • Staff will assess the number and location of any opposing votes on a noise barrier by noise barrier basis.
    • This may result in partial highway traffic noise abatement or construction of noise barriers despite opposing votes. The receptor unit owner opposing a proposed noise barrier must submit a signed survey form expressing his/her opposition to the proposed noise barrier, and this must be documented.
voting process1
VOTING PROCESS
  • Partial Highway Traffic Noise Abatement: If the opposing votes are located in areas where partial highway traffic noise abatement is feasible and reasonable without compromising or jeopardizing the noise barrier’s abatement ability for the remaining impacted and benefiting receptors, every reasonable effort must be made to accommodate the needs and wants of every impacted and benefited receptor, despite their approval of or opposition to the proposed noise barrier.
  • Weighting system: Professional judgment shall be exercised when tallying the votes before a final determination is made.
    • Examples of exercising professional judgment include, but are not limited to: the votes of impacted and benefited receptors shall be given more consideration versus the non-impacted and benefited receptors;
    • the votes of impacted and benefited front row receptors shall be given more consideration versus the second row impacted and benefited receptors;
    • and property owners shall be given more consideration versus the renters.
voting process2
VOTING PROCESS
  • Quantitative example: If 10 front row impacted and benefited receptors vote in favor of the barrier and 12 second row impact and benefited receptors vote against the barrier; less than 50% of the community are in favor of the barrier. However, greater consideration to the front receptors should be given as they are proposed to experience greater noise levels.

66 dBA – “NO” VOTE

70 dBA – “YES” VOTE

voting process3
VOTING PROCESS
  • Homeowners Associations: If the benefited receptors units are a part of a homeowner’s association, only those receptor units benefited by the proposed noise barrier will have a vote.
  • Failure on the part of the owner of a benefitted receptor to reply to a certified letter will not be considered for decision making (yes or no).
  • Change of property ownership: If a benefited property changes ownership after the public survey and before construction of the noise barrier only the original owner’s vote is considered.