Applicability of models to estimate traffic noise for urban roads

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Background: Traffic noise is a highly relevant environmental impact in cities. Models to estimate traffic noise, in turn, can be useful tools to guide mitigation measures. In this paper, the applicability of models to estimate noise levels produced by a continuous flow of vehicles on urban roads is investigated. The aim is to identify which models are more appropriate to estimate traffic noise in urban areas since several models available were conceived to estimate noise from highway traffic. Results: First, measurements of traffic noise, vehicle count and speed were carried out in five arterial urban roads of a brazilian city. Together with geometric measurements of width of lanes and distance from noise meter to lanes, these data were input in several models to estimate traffic noise. The predicted noise levels were then compared to the respective measured counterparts for each road investigated. In addition, a chart showing mean differences in noise between estimations and measurements is presented, to evaluate the overall performance of the models. Measured Leq values varied from 69 to 79 dB(A) for traffic flows varying from 1618 to 5220 vehicles/h. Mean noise level differences between estimations and measurements for all urban roads investigated ranged from -3.5 to 5.5 dB(A). Conclusions: According to the results, deficiencies of some models are discussed while other models are identified as applicable to noise estimations on urban roads in a condition of continuous flow. Key issues to apply such models to urban roads are highlighted.

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Melo, R. A., Pimentel, R. L., Lacerda, Di. M., & Silva, W. M. (2015). Applicability of models to estimate traffic noise for urban roads. Journal of Environmental Health Science and Engineering, 13(1).

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