ETC HE Report 2022/5: Projected health impacts from transportation noise – Exploring two scenarios for 2030

This report provides outlooks to 2030 on population exposed to road, rail and aircraft noise as well as on health impacts. The outlooks comprise two scenarios, one that is conservative (i.e. the minimum implementation of existing and forthcoming regulations) and one optimistic scenario which includes a more extensive set of measures. The assessment is done in order to determine if the EU Action Plan 'Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil' with the commitment to reduce by 2030 the share of people chronically disturbed by noise from transport by 30 % compared to 2017, could be achieved considering the outlooks calculated.

21 Jun 2022

Núria Blanes (UAB), Jaume Fons-Esteve (UAB), Matthias Hintzsche (UBA), Maria José Ramos (UAB), Martin Röösli (Swiss TPH), Miquel Sáinz de la Maza (UAB), Raquel Ubach (UAB), Danielle Vienneau (Swiss TPH), Eulália Peris (EEA)

Based on the overall results of this assessment, the zero-pollution action plan objective on noise is unlikely to be achieved by 2030. One of the main stoppers is the difficulty in reducing the large number of people exposed to road traffic noise. However, a combination of measures such as switching to electric vehicles in cities, reducing speed limits in cities, implementing the noise emission regulations for vehicles, and further extending low noise asphalts and noise barriers, could bring a reduction between 3-15 % of people affected by noise.
Looking at individual noise sources, the assessment shows that the number of people chronically disturbed by aircraft noise could be reduced by 30 % with progressive uptake of quieter aircrafts and improved landing and taking off procedures. In terms of railway noise, it is likely that the number of people affected by railway noise will increase due to an increase of railway activity, increase of speeds, and increase of high-speed lines which offsets the benefits of silent brake regulations and improved maintenance of the tracks.