Environment - acoustics, noise and vibration

Photo: iStockphoto
Many citizens find noise and vibration from road and rail traffic or from industrial sources annoying. COWI calculates noise levels, prepares noise maps and identifies solutions that can reduce noise annoyance in the environment.

In 2002, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU adopted the Directive 2002/49/EF relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise. The aim of the directive is to reduce the number of European citizens exposed to noise and to provide a basis for developing common European measures to reduce noise emission. The directive has been implemented in all EU member states as national legislation.

COWI participates in European noise task force

Noise mapping and reduction of environmental noise is one of COWI's core services. We are involved at national, regional and local levels and have an extensive network of international contacts in Europe ensuring that our customers benefit from the best solutions at the right price.

Reducing noise and vibration

With COWI's catalogue of relevant mitigation measures, we develop realistic and effective action plans that reduce noise and vibration where most needed. COWI is thus an important partner able to pass on results from the latest European research and development projects in the field of noise.

Mapping noise and vibration

COWI accesses all relevant databases, GIS (geographical information systems) and digital elevation models to acquire the necessary data to create a three-dimensional noise calculation model. COWI uses only validated and tested software programmes such as SoundPLAN, IMMI and CadnaA when making calculations. These programmes have implemented all relevant national calculation methods such as Nord2000 awaiting a common European method EU-CNOSSOS.

When noise exposure has been calculated, the results are correlated with registers and digital address databases. Large and small urban areas, selected road segments or especially noisy areas can then be mapped quickly and effectively. The results are presented as noise contours, noise levels at building facades or in tabular form with the number of noise affected dwellings per 5 dB.

To perform mapping of vibration and structural noise an in-house developed empirical model is used to identify where problems with environmental regulations can arise in a planned infrastructural alignment or industry facility. For buildings assessed critical to the environmental limits, a recalculation is carried out – this time taking more detailed parameters for building types, foundation, slab types etc. into account. The results are typically presented on maps by GIS tools.

LAST UPDATED: 12.12.2016