Special Issue "New Solutions Mitigating Environmental Noise Pollution"

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2019)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Gaetano Licitra

ARPAT, Environmental Protection Agency of Tuscany Region, Livorno, Italy
Department of Phisics, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: noise pollution; noise mapping; action plan; physical agents
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Konstantinos E. Vogiatzis

Laboratory of Transportation Environmental Acoustics L.T.E.A., Department of Civil Engineering, University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece
Website | E-Mail
Interests: strategic noise planning; noise action plans; urban noise; road and airport environmental noise; ground borne noise and vibration; soundscaping; metro and tramway airborne and ground borne noise; noise barriers and floating slabs for transportation infrastructure

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The increasing attention of public and scientific results regarding noise pollution effects on health pushed the EU to issue the 49/2002/CE directive. Noise mapping in the EU showed an enormous number of annoyed citizen; cities and infrastructure owners were asked to mitigate noise from transport and industrial sources, inside and outside buildings. New solutions are being studied and applied, and there is a great deal of interest in experimentation taking into account green economy, recycling materials, new approaches to traffic management as low emission zones, new pavements, new vehicles and tires, and novel systems to reduce noise at sources for railways and airports.

Methods and procedures are set to establish the efficacy and efficiency of mitigation actions; standards on barriers and pavement permit to qualify performances, and the prioritization of actions became crucial in order to guarantee transparent principles to the public.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to determine the state-of-the-art on noise mitigation at the source, and also in propagation and at the receivers.

A large quantity of research topics could be considered as valid submissions, as related to all the issues mentioned above. Authors are invited to submit their works related to the following topics (but not limited to them):

  • noise action plan;
  • transportation noise mitigation;
  • policies and good practices for traffic management, noise planning;
  • noise control;
  • industrial noise remediation;
  • methods for action prioritization;
  • evaluation of mitigation action performance;
  • models and algorithms for source characterization and outdoor sound propagation;
  • classification, evaluation and protection of quiet areas;
  • noise mitigation in building acoustics;
  • wind turbine noise;
  • use of recycled and waste materials to reduce noise.

Prof. Dr. Gaetano Licitra
Prof. Dr. Konstantinos E. Vogiatzis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Environments is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • noise action plan
  • transportation noise mitigation
  • noise planning
  • traffic management
  • noise control

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
LIFE SOUNDLESS: New Generation of Eco-Friendly Asphalt with Recycled Materials
Environments 2019, 6(4), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6040048
Received: 13 March 2019 / Revised: 15 April 2019 / Accepted: 16 April 2019 / Published: 24 April 2019
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Abstract
Noise pollution coming from traffic noise has become an important issue in urban areas. Road noise is one of the main sources of high-level traffic noise. Road noise depends not only on tires but on the pavement. Therefore, a study of mixture parameters [...] Read more.
Noise pollution coming from traffic noise has become an important issue in urban areas. Road noise is one of the main sources of high-level traffic noise. Road noise depends not only on tires but on the pavement. Therefore, a study of mixture parameters should be performed to achieve good acoustic performance. Another important point which has to be taken into account is the acoustic performance durability. Gap-graded mixtures were selected for this project due to poor experiences with open-graded mixtures in terms of performance durability, where texture and clogging issues appeared a few years after paving. The LIFE SOUNDLESS project is seeking different ways to modify stone mastic asphalt mixes to improve the noise attenuation of pavements. A selection of mixes with different additives were created, where some waste materials were used. The selection of the best mixtures was done not only according to traditional mechanical parameters but also others, such as damping and dynamic stiffness. Once the best mixtures had been paved, the acoustic performances were measured several times to evaluate the performance durability. Several experimental methods like the close proximity (CPX) method and statistical pass by (SPB) method were used to check the sound generation and propagation of every pavement. The project was carried out on two roads overseen by the Junta de Andalucía in Seville (Spain). The difference between both roads was the traffic density and the average speed. The noise level has since been reduced by 3 dB and 7 dB on both sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Solutions Mitigating Environmental Noise Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Noise around Hospital Areas: A Case Study
Environments 2019, 6(4), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6040041
Received: 19 March 2019 / Accepted: 27 March 2019 / Published: 1 April 2019
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Abstract
Due to the particular characteristics of hospitals, these buildings are highly sensitive to environmental noise. However, they are usually located close or within urban agglomerations. Hence, hospitals are, in many cases, exposed to high levels of environmental noise. A study of one of [...] Read more.
Due to the particular characteristics of hospitals, these buildings are highly sensitive to environmental noise. However, they are usually located close or within urban agglomerations. Hence, hospitals are, in many cases, exposed to high levels of environmental noise. A study of one of the main hospitals in the Extremadura region (Spain) is presented here to allow a global assessment of the acoustic impact of outdoor sound sources. Both long- and short-term measurements were carried out, and a software model was developed. The measured values exceed the World Health Organisation reference value of 50 dBA for daytime and evening, and are even higher than the 55 dBA limit at which severe annoyance is generated. Taking into account the results obtained, the noise impact on this hospital is primarily influenced by three sound sources: road traffic, cooling towers of the hospital and the emergency helicopter. Their relative importance depends on the facade under consideration. It can therefore be concluded that the overall situation of the hospital needs to be improved. Thus, a series of solutions are proposed for a possible action plan based on interventions regarding the main sound sources and the location of the most sensitive areas to environmental noise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Solutions Mitigating Environmental Noise Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
Noise Assessment of Small Vessels for Action Planning in Canal Cities
Environments 2019, 6(3), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6030031
Received: 6 February 2019 / Revised: 1 March 2019 / Accepted: 3 March 2019 / Published: 5 March 2019
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Abstract
After the European Environmental Noise Directive prescribed noise maps and action plans, wide scientific literature and a consistent number of mitigation strategies emerged for road, railway, airport, and industrial noise. Unfortunately, very little attention has been paid to the noise produced by ports [...] Read more.
After the European Environmental Noise Directive prescribed noise maps and action plans, wide scientific literature and a consistent number of mitigation strategies emerged for road, railway, airport, and industrial noise. Unfortunately, very little attention has been paid to the noise produced by ports in their surroundings, even though there could be many areas affected by it. At present, more attention seems to be paid to noise produced underwater, mostly for military and security reasons and for its interference with wildlife, rather than airborne noise and its influence on human health. In the framework of a project aiming to shed more light on a topic so far under-investigated, this paper presents an acoustical characterization of different small vessels at various speeds that move around on a daily basis in every type of port, produced by means of short- and long-term measurements. The new information acquired was used to produce a map of noise generated by vessels moving in Livorno’s canals, which branch off in a densely inhabited area. The simulations were validated using long-term measurement. The number of citizens exposed was also estimated and used to calculate the number of highly annoyed people according to the recent curve for road traffic noise proposed by Guski et al. In order to prevent citizen exposure to noise and possible complaints about small boats, different scenarios and possible future situations such as various vessel speeds, limited flow, restricted areas for some categories, or new residential areas were studied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Solutions Mitigating Environmental Noise Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
DEUFRABASE: A Simple Tool for the Evaluation of the Noise Impact of Pavements in Typical Road Geometries
Environments 2019, 6(3), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6030027
Received: 7 January 2019 / Revised: 8 February 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 26 February 2019
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Abstract
Traffic noise is considered by people as one of the most important sources of environmental discomfort. A way to limit the traffic noise is to reduce the noise emission, for example, by using specific low noise pavements, particularly in suburban areas. However, in [...] Read more.
Traffic noise is considered by people as one of the most important sources of environmental discomfort. A way to limit the traffic noise is to reduce the noise emission, for example, by using specific low noise pavements, particularly in suburban areas. However, in real situations, it can be difficult to evaluate the impact of a given pavement, because it depends, for example, on the road geometry, the meteorological conditions, or the distance of the receiver position. Finally it can be difficult to select the most appropriate pavement for a given noise reduction objective. In this paper, a simple method is proposed to evaluate the noise impact of a pavement, in typical road geometries and environmental conditions. The proposed approach uses two databases, the first one based on measurements of emission spectra of road vehicles on several typical pavements, the second one made of pre-calculations of noise propagation for typical road configurations. Finally, the method is implemented in an interactive web tool, called DEUFRABASE, which allows one to obtain a fast estimation of the L Aeq (1 h or 24 h) and L den noise levels for various pavements and road configurations, as functions of the traffic flow and composition. By comparing the method with measurements, it is showed that the tool, although based on a restricted number of pavements and on several simplifications, can predict the noise impact of typical road configurations, with an acceptable error, most often less than 2 dB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Solutions Mitigating Environmental Noise Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
Noise Events Monitoring for Urban and Mobility Planning in Andorra la Vella and Escaldes-Engordany
Environments 2019, 6(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6020024
Received: 29 November 2018 / Revised: 17 February 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 22 February 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4726 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Correction
Abstract
Noise pollution is a critical factor and it has an important impact on public health, with the relationship between road traffic noise (RTN) and several illnesses in urban areas of particular concern. Andorra is currently developing a national strategy regarding noise pollution in [...] Read more.
Noise pollution is a critical factor and it has an important impact on public health, with the relationship between road traffic noise (RTN) and several illnesses in urban areas of particular concern. Andorra is currently developing a national strategy regarding noise pollution in their urban environments. The Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Sustainability is trying to to identify, monitor, map and model the effects of noise pollution and design mitigation policies to reduce the impact in certain priority areas. This analysis should take into account the existence of different types of anomalous noise events (ANEs) present in the street, e.g., horns, people talking, music, and other events that coexist with RTN, to characterize the soundscape of each of the locations. This paper presents a preliminary analysis considering both the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) and the duration of the ANEs to evaluate their presence in urban areas in the three different locations in Andorra la Vella and Escaldes-Engordany. The experiments conducted required a 10-h recording campaign distributed in the three locations under study, which was evaluated on two different days, one during the week and the other on the weekend. Afterwards, the data were carefully labeled and the SNR of each event was evaluated to determine the potential impact of the four categories under study: vehicles, works, city life and people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Solutions Mitigating Environmental Noise Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Health Effects and Soundscape Analysis as New Mitigation Actions Concerning the Aircraft Noise Impact in Small- and Middle-Size Urban Areas in Greece
Received: 23 October 2018 / Revised: 11 December 2018 / Accepted: 24 December 2018 / Published: 4 January 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (8190 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In 2013 and 2014, two main International Airports in Greece were evaluated through the European directive on noise environment 2002/49/EC: “Nikos Kazantzakis” International Airport of Heraklion Crete and “Ioannis—Kapodistrias” International Airport in Corfu, both located in highly touristic areas of Greece. Acoustic measurement’s [...] Read more.
In 2013 and 2014, two main International Airports in Greece were evaluated through the European directive on noise environment 2002/49/EC: “Nikos Kazantzakis” International Airport of Heraklion Crete and “Ioannis—Kapodistrias” International Airport in Corfu, both located in highly touristic areas of Greece. Acoustic measurement’s campaign, environmental noise mapping simulations and population exposure to noise were implemented in order to produce a complete Strategic Noise Map. Correlated to this acoustic approach, a comprehensive interview campaign and a detailed soundscape analysis were also conducted in both airports’ adjacent areas (Alikarnassos district in Heraklion and the peninsula of Canoni in Corfu City) in order to understand the impact of aircraft movements on both local residents and tourists, and analyze the perception of the soundscapes. A similar evaluation was also executed in order to assess possible health effects by using the WHO’s DALY’s (Disability Adjusted Life Year) metrics for environmental noise in relation to the exposure of the population. This paper presents the main results of these representative case studies, attempting a combined assessment of both health effects and soundscape characteristics to be used as evaluation tools towards the management and the rehabilitation acoustic environment characterized mainly by aircraft noise in touristic areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Solutions Mitigating Environmental Noise Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Artificial Neural Networks for Noise Barrier Optimization
Environments 2018, 5(12), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5120135
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 4 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 10 December 2018
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Abstract
In the modern world, noise pollution continues to be a major problem that impairs people’s health, and road traffic is a primary contributor to noise emissions. This article describes an environmental impact study of the noise generated by the reconstruction of an urban [...] Read more.
In the modern world, noise pollution continues to be a major problem that impairs people’s health, and road traffic is a primary contributor to noise emissions. This article describes an environmental impact study of the noise generated by the reconstruction of an urban section of a highway. Noise maps were calculated, and an environmental impact matrix was generated to determine the environmental impact of this reconstruction. The implementation of noise barriers was simulated based on these noise maps, and the effectiveness of the barriers was evaluated using Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) combined with Design of Experiments (DoE). A functional variable significance analysis was then made for two parameters, namely, the coefficient of absorption of the barrier material and the barrier height. The aim was to determine the influence of these parameters on sound attenuation and on the formation of acoustic shadows. The results obtained from the ANNs and DoE were consistent in demonstrating that the absorption coefficient strongly influences the noise attenuation provided by noise barriers, while barrier height is correlated with the formation of larger areas of acoustic shadow. The environmental impact matrix also indicates that the existence of noise pollution has a negative effect on the environment, but that this impact can be reversed or minimized. The application of simulated noise barriers demonstrated that noise levels can be reduced to legally acceptable levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Solutions Mitigating Environmental Noise Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Residents’ Exposure to Leisure Noise in Málaga (Spain)
Environments 2018, 5(12), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5120134
Received: 25 October 2018 / Revised: 3 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4483 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Leisure noise is a continual source of complaints from residents of affected areas, and its management poses a difficult challenge for local authorities, especially in tourist destinations, such as Málaga. The city council of this city has set a goal of mitigating the [...] Read more.
Leisure noise is a continual source of complaints from residents of affected areas, and its management poses a difficult challenge for local authorities, especially in tourist destinations, such as Málaga. The city council of this city has set a goal of mitigating the noise produced by leisure activities. In 2015, it began mitigation actions, starting with the assessment of the noise through a temporal monitoring campaign in two specific areas of the city where leisure activities are prevalent. Beyond the objective assessment of the noise levels through measurements, the research team programmed several communication actions (a) to improve the trust, visibility, and reliability of the noise-monitoring process through press and social networks and (b) to gather the subjective response to noise from residents in the affected areas. The results obtained were very helpful to raise awareness among stakeholders and to support the planning and prioritization of further noise mitigation actions. Furthermore, the research team aimed to analyze the long-term noise indicators and the time-based patterns of noise in different areas, trying to establish conclusions that can be helpful for other areas of the city and testing the applicability of previous leisure noise models for the city of Málaga. The results showed that the noise levels in the leisure areas in Málaga are quite high at night (Ln over 60 dBA in almost every location), especially during weekend nights, where we observed locations with noise levels over 75–80 dBA until late hours of the night. We also made an analysis of the leisure noise models proposed in previous investigations and their performance in the case of Málaga. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Solutions Mitigating Environmental Noise Pollution)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Recent Developments in Sonic Crystals as Barriers for Road Traffic Noise Mitigation
Environments 2019, 6(2), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6020014
Received: 4 January 2019 / Revised: 23 January 2019 / Accepted: 26 January 2019 / Published: 30 January 2019
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Abstract
Noise barriers are the most widespread solution to mitigate noise produced by the continuous growth of vehicular traffic, thus reducing the large number of people exposed to it and avoiding unpleasant effects on health. However, conventional noise barriers present the well-known issues related [...] Read more.
Noise barriers are the most widespread solution to mitigate noise produced by the continuous growth of vehicular traffic, thus reducing the large number of people exposed to it and avoiding unpleasant effects on health. However, conventional noise barriers present the well-known issues related to the diffraction at the edges which reduces the net insertion loss, to the reflection of sound energy in the opposite direction, and to the complaints of citizens due to the reduction of field of view, natural light, and air flow. In order to avoid these shortcomings and maximize noise abatement, recent research has moved toward the development of sonic crystals as noise barriers. A previous review found in the literature was focused on the theoretical aspects of the propagation of sound through crystals. The present work on the other hand reviews the latest studies concerning the practical application of sonic crystal as noise barriers, especially for road traffic noise mitigation. The paper explores and compares the latest developments reported in the scientific literature, focused on integrating Bragg’s law properties with other mitigation effects such as hollow scatterers, wooden or recycled materials, or porous coating. These solutions could increase the insertion loss and frequency band gap, while inserting the noise mitigation action in a green and circular economy. The pros and cons of sonic crystal barriers will also be discussed, with the aim of finding the best solution that is actually viable, as well as stimulating future research on the aspects requiring improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Solutions Mitigating Environmental Noise Pollution)
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Other

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Open AccessCorrection
Correction: Alsina-Pagès et al. Noise Events Monitoring for Urban and Mobility Planning in Andorra la Vella and Escaldes-Engordany. Environments, 2019, 6, 24
Environments 2019, 6(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6030037
Received: 11 March 2019 / Accepted: 15 March 2019 / Published: 18 March 2019
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Abstract
The authors would like to correct the published article [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Solutions Mitigating Environmental Noise Pollution)
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