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Local councils have an obligation to maintain and improve the quality of life for their residents. Excessive noise is frequently cited as a major contributor to stress and anxiety. Urban area monitoring is different to other applications as it is rarely about monitoring compliance. Firstly it’s more about identifying longer term trends and feeding this information into policy decisions to manage the urban environment. Secondly it about communicating these trends and engaging with communities to show that you have noise issues under control. Noise Sentinel enables you to do both of these.

Urban noise

The sounds in a city are central to our quality of life. Constant exposure to noise effects both our physical and psychological health, and our ability to learn and communicate.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has proven direct links between noise and health risks. It is reported that in western European countries:

  • 1 million healthy life-years are lost from traffic-related noise every year
  • Every third person in the WHO European Region is affected by traffic noise
  • 40% of the population is exposed to road traffic noise at levels exceeding 55 dB(A)
  • 30% of the population is exposed to levels exceeding 55 dB(A) during the night

Aerial view of Madrid. Photo by oz13xx from FlickrAerial view of Madrid. Photo by oz13xx from Flickr

Don’t spoil your city – manage urban noise

Urban noise management is a major concern for politicians, urban planners and municipal officials. The tasks involved in managing noise includes solving noise complaints, noise mapping and policing noise limits, as well as noise abatement and zoning. Reports must be made, actions taken and the public must be kept informed.

“Noise management changes a city. Knowing this, we are taking action and are working with Brüel & Kjær to improve the quality of life for all the people of Madrid and its visitors” Plácido Perera, Director of Acoustic Control, Department of Madrid Council

See how Madrid city is managing urban noise here and how the city of Århus is assessing road traffic noise here.

Manage the noise

Legislation exists in Europe and Asia aiming to avoid, prevent or reduce the harmful effects of exposure to environmental noise.

Reduction of the noise levels by traffic regulation, low-noise road surfaces, noise barriers etc. is very expensive. Therefore, it is important to know exactly which areas have the largest problems before investing in noise reduction. Noise calculations and measurements are the best tools for this identification.

Noise is not just noise

Traffic, business and recreational activities like motorsport or outdoor music concerts all contribute to spoiling a city and harming its inhabitants. The source of most outdoor noise worldwide is construction and transportation systems.

Often a large number of different sources contribute to the ambient noise at any particular point. The impact of each specific noise source must be evaluated. When measuring noise, the type of noise determines the parameters to measure, the equipment to use, and the duration of the measurement.

How can Noise Sentinel Help?

Noise Sentinel systems are used by local councils across the globe to manage noise in the urban area.

  • Monitoring noise and reporting long term trends to inform policy decisions
  • Whilst most noise abatement activity takes place at the policy level and is developed over long periods of time, Noise Sentinel forms an immediate and very visible part of your noise mitigation strategy
  • Sharing noise information with the community via the Noise Sentinel stakeholder web builds trust. It shows stakeholders that you are aware of the issue and are taking it seriously
  • Noise Sentinel systems integrate with other urban monitoring solutions such as dust and air quality monitoring and even road traffic monitoring so that you can manage everything in one easy to use web based solution, saving you time and allowing you to achieve more.

A range of additional tools are available to help in the various tasks involved in managing urban noise, from simple sound level meters to comprehensive noise prediction tools. More information is available on bksv.com below.

A range of additional tools are available to help in managing urban noise

  • Determine noise sources: Assessment +Read More Determine noise sources: Assessment
    Assessing noise is essential to ensure that noise limits are respected. Noise limits in urban environments are defined per source type – i.e., they are specific for traffic, construction sites, industrial plants, entertainment and leisure activities, and for neighbours.
    Read More
  • Predict and prevent noise: Planning +Read More Predict and prevent noise: Planning
    Noise planning prevents noise issues arising and optimises the use of resources by managing the future noise environment. Noise mapping is done through calculations, and is essential for planning urban development of residential areas, such as with industrial sites, highways and airports.
    Read More
  • Manage noise: Learn to do things right +Read More Manage noise: Learn to do things right
    Knowledge and skills make a practical difference in the everyday work to abate noise. Improve your noise management skills with Brüel & Kjær training courses, ranging from the basics of noise and its effects to more specialised classes on noise planning, assessment and control.
    Read More
We help our customers measure and manage the quality of sound and vibration in their products and in the environment
Brüel & Kjær Sound & Vibration Measurement A/S. P +45 77 41 20 00. F +45 45 80 14 05. info@bksv.com
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