Measures for Protection Against Traffic Noise

Edis Softiฤ‡, University of Bihaฤ‡, BiH

Noise, defined as any unwanted sound, causes various disturbances at work and during rest, leads to hearing loss, interferes with speech communication and affects the general and working behavior of a person, and at higher levels it can have pathological effects. In fact, three basic changes manifest themselves most clearly under the influence of noise.

First of all, it leads to hearing loss, a feeling of annoyance and discomfort, which is the basis of various psychophysiological changes and finally to a change in performance in work activity. Noise occurs in the working and living environment, with traffic noise, which basically constitutes communal noise, and industrial noise being the most significant, strongest and most widespread. Traffic noise is especially present in the urban environment, where the largest part of the human population that is at risk is located.

In addition to this noise disturbing people during work, it especially endangers people outside of working hours and at the workplace, at home, during rest, and especially at night when sleeping. In Europe, 40% of the population is exposed to road traffic noise above 55 dB during the day, and even 20% is exposed to a noise level that exceeds 65% dB of the inadmissible level for long-term exposure. Noise from heavy traffic can increase the risk of heart attack 2-3 times. Noise above 60 dB can indirectly affect the stimulation of the sympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system, rapid heartbeat, sweating, increased blood pressure, depression, bronchitis, etc. The pain threshold of the human ear is at an intensity of about 140 dB.

Traffic noise in cities can seriously endanger the health and shorten the lifespan of modern man. Due to constant exposure to sound stronger than 60 dB, blood pressure jumps, nervous breakdowns and even heart attacks occur, which was confirmed by the example of 24,238 adults aged 18 to 80. Health is at risk for those who live near busy and noisy streets. Traffic is the main source of noise in today's world. Road traffic noise sources originate from cars, buses, trolleybuses, motorcycles, trucks and machinery that moves independently on the road.

Today and in the near future, noise protection in the living and working environment must be solved simultaneously with a series of urban and technical protection methods. Urban planning methods of noise protection in the planning and construction of new housing estates consist in the implementation of the following measures: Orientation of the residential building in relation to the source of noise towards the smallest area of the facade, Planning the layout of rooms in a residential building in relation to the external source of noise, Design and construction of protective barriers, screens, embankments or a wider green belt, Prescribing special requirements related to the implementation of technical measures aimed at reducing noise at sources and reducing it to permitted values, Prescribing special requirements related to the necessary sound insulation of certain elements of the building structure (walls, roof, windows, ceilings).

The biggest source of noise in the communal environment is traffic. Based on the results of the measurements, in order to reduce the noise level, the activities of moving heavy and freight traffic, especially transit traffic, to roads outside the densely populated city core can be carried out.

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The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.