ETC/ATNI Report 4/2021: Potential quiet areas in END agglomerations. Population accessibility to quiet green urban areas using road and air traffic noise contour maps and Urban Atlas 2018.

Nearby access to quiet spaces and to green spaces contributes to the health and well-being of local communities. This report assesses potential quiet areas in 145 agglomerations and their accessibility in a subset of 129 agglomerations partly covering the EEA-38 and the United Kingdom territory. The results highlight that quiet areas are the larger part of the city in most cities. In most cities, more than 50 % of the population lives in areas potentially quiet.

31 Jan 2022

Miquel Sainz de la Maza, Núria Blanes, Raquel Ubach, Jaume Fons, Guillem Closa

Prepared by:

Miquel Sainz de la Maza (UAB), Núria Blanes (UAB), Raquel Ubach (UAB), Jaume Fons (UAB), Guillem Closa (UAB)

The characterisation of quiet areas uses Urban Atlas 2018 and the road and airport noise contour maps  ≥ 55 dB Lden to, applying a novel methodology, classify each land cover / land use polygon in a range from 0 to 100  (0 being the noisiest and 100 the quietest area). The results reflect the maximum potential available quiet areas since only two noise sources have been considered: road traffic and aircraft noise.

 The accessibility to the population of green quiet areas is also analysed. It has been determined  an area of easy walking distance – 400 m – around quiet green urban areas and then calculate how many people can reach those areas based on inhabited Urban Atlas residential polygons.

 Three main groups of cities have been identified: the largest one is composed of quiet cities  with a high share of green areas, with most of the Northern European cities. A second group includes cities where most of the people live in noisy areas. Finally, a smaller group relates to quiet cities with a high share of residential areas. The accessibility of quiet and green areas is quite variable, as a result of several interactions that could not be disentangled, but a relevant share of people living in noisy areas has access to green and quiet areas.