Traffic noise pollution
Noise is harmful to health, reduces the quality of life in the affected regions and also causes high economic costs. Road traffic is by far the greatest source of noise. Unlike railway and aircraft noise, road noise is not only a problem at the local level, but is also disseminated in the form of a noise carpet.
– 1 person in 7 (1.1 Mio.) – are exposed to harmful or disturbing levels of traffic noise during the day, while the equivalent figure for nighttime exposure is 1 person in 8 (1 Mio.). Far fewer people are exposed to excessive railway (16,000 during the day and 87,000% at night) and aircraft (24,000 during the day, 75,000 at night) noise. Around 90% of people who are exposed to harmful or disturbing traffic noise live in towns or agglomerations.
In order to provide the degree of protection for the population that is stipulated in the Federal Constitution, noise will have to be combated through measures directly at source to an increasing extent. In the area of road transport, the greatest noise abatement effects can be achieved through the use of low-noise road surfaces and quieter tyres, and by optimising traffic flows and adapting speed limits at the local level. To more effectively reduce railway noise, the federal government is already focusing its funding on measures at source and supporting investment in quieter rolling stock. The anticipated technological progress relating to noise protection measures is likely to be offset by increasing urbanisation, the constantly growing demand for mobility and the trend towards a 24-hour society.
Road transport is also by far the greatest source of traffic noise throughout Europe. According to the European Environmental Agency, almost every second person living in an agglomeration is exposed to road noise exceeding 55 dB, and thus to levels above those recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the protection of human health and well-being.
sonBASE is a tool for calculating road noise emissions on the basis of available fundamental data (official geodata, statistics, traffic data, etc.). In the noise calculation module (CadnaA) the degree of dissemination and the resulting ambient noise levels are then calculated with the aid of a digital height model, the available building data, emission data (road noise) and the effective emissions (railway noise). With respect to aircraft noise, the available measurements at civil airports and military airfields are adopted as ambient noise levels. The basis for assessing the number of people exposed to road, rail and aircraft noise is the exposure limit level specified in the Swiss Federal Noise Abatement Ordinance (SR 814.41) in relation to the defined sensitivity levels (SL I to IV).