Fyhri, A. and Klboe, R., Institute of Transport Economics, Norway
In urban areas there are often quite steep noise gradients between dwellings facing a main street and those located in side streets. A recent EU-proposal on community noise emphasises the need to map noise gradients to protect and utilise "silent sides" of dwellings, reduce the amount of transport noise affecting recreational areas etc. To describe the traffic noise neighbourhood of a dwelling we have coined the term neighbourhood soundscape. A simple indicator of the quality of the neighbourhood soundscape has also been developed using the spatial routines of a geographical information system. By making use of this indicator, analyses of data from in all 5 Norwegian socio-acoustical surveys from two city areas comprising about 5000 respondents have been analysed. The analysis showed that the quality of the neighbourhood soundscape has a significant and substantial impact on people's annoyance with road traffic noise at their dwelling. People living in relatively noisy neighbourhoods are more annoyed than those living in relatively quiet neighbourhoods. The direct effect of traffic reductions is through a reduced noise level at peoples home, and the indirect effect through the relative improvement of the neighbourhood soundscape. People's impressions of the neighbourhood soundscape should depend on people's utilisation of the immediate surroundings of their apartment, and how annoying they experience the neighbourhood soundscape. Using data from a recent socio-acoustical survey in a new city area, these questions are addressed and analysed in the current paper.