Modelling and monitoring Dutch highway traffic noise production

Invited paper

Teun Veger


Monday 1 june, 2015, 17:00 - 17:20

0.7 Lisbon (47)

In 2012, new legislation on noise production of highways in the Netherlands, the Environmental Management Act, came into effect. This legislation stipulates how the Dutch national road authority, Rijkswaterstaat, should continuously monitor whether the noise production of highway traffic stays within the legal limits. Purpose of this monitoring system is to ensure the protection of citizens by controlling the increase of noise production and to prevent the road authority being faced with unexpected noise reducing measures. The permitted noise production levels for highways are fixed in a public noise register. The noise register consists of about 60,000 reference points alongside the highways. These reference points are not physical points where noise is measured, but virtual points in a digital computational model. With this model a maximum permitted noise production level, the noise production limit, is calculated for each reference point. The noise production limit is different for each point. It is based on the local parameters determining noise production, such as traffic speed, traffic intensity, noise barriers and road surfaces in a reference situation (mostly the year 2008). Each year Rijkswaterstaat has to publish a report about the compliance with the noise production limits. To determine the compliance, a database is created each year with information about noise production in the previous calendar year. Based on this database, the noise production in that calendar year is calculated and compared to the noise production limits in the noise register. When exceedance of the noise production limits is imminent, Rijkswaterstaat has to take action to reduce the noise production. The paper discusses the experiences acquired after implementing the Dutch noise legislation for highways. It focusses on the benefits and challenges that come with a nationwide computational model to monitor the compliance with noise production limits.

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