Setting the appropriate limits
As part of a renewed emphasis on environmental noise policy, the European Commission has updated the regulatory framework for vehicle sound emissions. In 2021, the Commission adopted the EU Action Plan, ‘Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil’. This aims to reduce pollution to levels that are no longer considered harmful to health and natural ecosystems. It includes a range of key 2030 targets that are designed to cut pollution at source. One of these is to reduce the share of people who are chronically exposed to transport noise by 30%. A range of measures are currently being considered by policy makers to set targets and thus achieve the goals of the action plan. With a view to examine how transport noise pollution can be reduced, The European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ACEA) commissioned ATEEL to conduct a study on ‘Future Sound Limit Values for type approval for vehicles of category M & N’
This study, published in January 2022, provides an in-depth analysis of how the goals relating to transport-related environmental noise burdens can be achieved. It examines vehicle type approval values and sets out scenarios that explore the impact and efficiency of reduced sound limit values across a wide range of environmental conditions. By extension, it also considers the introduction of alternative and complementary measures to reduce environmental noise under real traffic conditions.
Observations and Assessment
The major conclusion of the study is that based on hypothetical limit reductions (‘Limit Value Scenario 3’ in the study), the improvement of the overall sound level (LAeq) for environmental noise in 2040 relative to the existing regulations (Scenario 2 in the study) would be 0.7dB in urban areas. A key factor is vehicle market penetration. Variations in the market penetration rate of newer vehicles, and alternative measures such as road types and speed limits, would influence the effect on environmental noise much more significantly than a reduction in limit values in the second half of the 2020s.
The aim of potential future reductions is to further mitigate real-world traffic noise, particularly in situations and locations where people are significantly affected by noise emissions. The study concludes that there are other options and measures with much greater potential to reduce sound levels in real-world conditions.
The European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ACEA) is committed to the objectives of this plan. The aim of potential future reductions is to further mitigate real-world traffic noise, particularly in situations and locations where people are significantly affected by noise emissions.
At Ventac we take responsibility to reduce transport noise serioulsy to maximise the impact of quiet vehicles in everyday road traffic. Ventac is an established name in the supply of innovative and high-performance noise control solutions to the global Bus & Coach industry. Ventac works with the world’s leading specialist vehicles OEMs, to develop and engineer a full range of noise control solutions.
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