Exposure to and annoyance by traffic noise
Published (reviewed and quality assured)
Justification for indicator selection
Road transport noise is the most damaging source in terms of levels of dB concerning area and periods of time covered. Considering that no effective measures have been taken yet to decrease substantially the impact of this source of noise in the population, further efforts should be applied in order to fulfill the objective of reduction in the number of people exposed to this noise source.
- No rationale references available
Number of people exposed to noise for 2007 and 2012, Lden and Lnight periods. Noise Sources included are Airports, Railways and Roads within agglomerations (bigger than 250 thousand inhabitants and bigger than 100 thousand inhabitants respectively) and Major Airports, Major Railways and Major Roads, outside agglomerations.
Number of people exposed.
Policy context and targets
At the time of publication of the Green Paper on Future Noise Policy (COM (96) 540), it was estimated that about 80 million people (20% of the European Union's population), suffered from unacceptable noise levels (in so-called “black areas”, where 65dB were exceeded). Such figure was considered by scientists and health experts as unacceptable. Additionally, 170 million lived in “grey areas”, where noise levels ranged from 55 to 65 dB.
The Environmental Noise Directive (END) 2002/49/EC entered into force in 2002 in order to provide a response to this problem, becoming one of the main instruments to identify noise pollution levels and to trigger the necessary action both at Member State and at EU level.
No later than 31 December 2007, Member States were obliged to report strategic noise maps to the European Commission showing the situation in the preceding calendar year for all agglomerations with more than 250 000 inhabitants and for all major roads which have more than six million vehicle passages a year, major railways which have more than 60 000 train passages per year and major airports with more than 50 000 movements per year within their territories.
Data required to be supplied after having produced the noise contour maps include the number of people exposed to environmental noise from one of the four particular noise sources inside agglomerations (road noise, rail noise, aircraft noise and industrial noise) and the number of people exposed to the main transport sources outside agglomerations. This information is divided in several classes of noise exposure. For Lden, the number of exposed citizens should be supplied rounded to the nearest hundred and expressed in hundreds, in exposure classes of 5 dB from 55 dB Lden up to over 75 dB Lden. For Lnight, the data should cover noise exposure classes from 50 dB Lnight upward until 70 dB Lnight, again in 5 dB classes.
No later than 31 December 2012, and thereafter every five years, strategic noise maps showing the situation in the preceding calendar year should be made and delivered to the European Commission in due time. This time, member countries were requested to report a major number of sources, including all agglomerations with more than 100 000 inhabitants and all major roads with more than 3 million vehicle a year, all major railways with more than 30 000 train passages per year and major airports within their territories.
The Environmental Noise Directive does not provide any specific target. However, the aim is to reduce the number of people exposed to, and annoyed by, noise levels that endanger health and quality of life (EC 2002/49/EC). The WHO recommends night noise levels not higher than 40 dB Lnight in order to protect public health.
However, presented here are the values higher than 50 dB Lnight, which is the lower limit of assessment according to Directive 2002/49/EC. In other words, assessments have not yet been made to the WHO recommended level.
Related policy documents
No related policy documents have been specified
Key policy question
How many people are exposed to traffic noise in Europe?
Methodology for indicator calculation
People exposed from different noise sources is reported by EEA member states in each reporting period, first implementation round in 2007, and second implementation round in 2012. Data received include all environmental noise sources inside and outside agglomerations by Lden and Lnight periods. Data is aggregated at European level and the total is displayed by source for each dB range: 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74 and >75 Lden, and 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69 and >70 Lnight.
Methodology for gap filling
No methodology references available.
EEA data references
- No datasets have been specified here.
Data sources in latest figures
Data sets uncertainty
Short term work
Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.
Long term work
Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.
Responsibility and ownership
EEA Contact InfoAlfredo Sanchez Vicente
Frequency of updates
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
PDF generated on 28 Oct 2016, 10:37 AM