Posts Tagged ‘highway noise’

BTS Releases National Transportation Noise Map

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

by Mary Ellen Eagan


The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) initial National Transportation Noise Map was released earlier this week.  It shows that more than 97 percent of the U.S. population has the potential to be exposed to noise from aviation and Interstate highways at levels above below 50 decibels (roughly comparable to the noise level of a humming refrigerator).  A much smaller segment of the U.S. resident population has the potential to be exposed to higher levels of aviation and Interstate highway noise. Less than one-tenth of a percent of the population could potentially experience noise levels of 80 decibels or more, equivalent to the noise level of a garbage disposal.

The purpose of the noise map is to facilitate the tracking of trends in transportation-related noise, by mode, and collectively for multiple transportation modes. The data allow viewing the national picture of potential exposure to aviation and highway noise. The data also allow viewing of the potential exposure at the state or county level.

The National Transportation Noise Map will be an addition to the National Transportation Atlas Database (NTAD), a set of nationwide geographic databases of transportation facilities, networks, and associated infrastructure available from the BTS Geospatial Data Catalog. The layers will be updated on an annual basis, and future versions of the National Transportation Noise Map are envisioned to include additional transportation noise sources, such as rail and maritime.

The BTS map contains aircraft and road noise inventory data provided as web map services (WMS) for use with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), computer programs that can store, analyze, and present spatial or geographic data.

The mapping was developed by the DOT’s Volpe Center, using data sources from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to create a comprehensive map of noise levels. The FAA’s Aviation Environmental Design Tool was used to model the average number of daily flight operations from airports across the country, excluding airports with exclusively military operations. To determine daily road noise data, algorithms from the FHWA’s Traffic Noise Model were used in conjunction with data from the Highway Performance Monitoring System to obtain the average daily noise levels for automobiles, medium trucks, and heavy trucks. The acoustics modeling used in developing these noise layers uses conservative, simplified methods, and only considers transportation noise (no other ambient noise sources). Documentation on the modeling assumptions is available at The noise data in the layers should be used for the purpose of tracking trends, not for assessing impacts. This data release represents the first year of data that can be used to analyze future trends.

TRB Releases HMMH-Authored NCHRP Report 791 – Supplemental Guidance on the Application of FHWA’s Traffic Noise Model (TNM)

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

by Christopher Menge


Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc. (HMMH) is pleased to announce the release of TRB’s NCHRP Report 791 – Supplemental Guidance on the Application of FHWA’s Traffic Noise Model (TNM), the final product of NCHRP Project 25-34, led by HMMH and supported by a team of consultants.

Noise is an important environmental concern for highway planners and designers, and through 2010, state highway agencies have spent $5.4 billion to abate the noise generated by federally-aided highway projects. Transportation agencies assess different aspects of highway noise to determine or predict community impacts during transportation planning, although procedures have varied by program and agency. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)’s Transportation Noise Model (TNM) is a computer program used for predicting noise levels and their impacts in the vicinity of highways. The TNM was developed in the 1990’s by a team led by HMMH under contract to the FHWA. The FHWA has provided substantial guidance for the routine application of the TNM; however, scenarios still exist for which there remains limited or no technical guidance.

Under NCHRP Project 25-34, HMMH was asked to investigate sixteen different research topic areas to identify best practices and provide significant guidance on applying TNM to accurately, consistently, and efficiently model traffic-generated noise in a variety of settings that has not been previously addressed by TNM. The objective of NCHRP 25-34 was to supplement existing guidance on applying the TNM by identifying best practices to model structure reflected noise; bridge expansion joints; signalized interchanges; intersections; area sources (e.g., weigh stations, park and ride lots, toll facilities, and service plazas); median barriers; roundabouts; and tunnel openings. The research determines the sensitivity and accuracy of methods to model multi-lane highways, rows of buildings, topography, ground zones, and tree zones, and identifies best practices for input parameters. The research also synthesizes the state of practice for analyzing the effects of wind and temperature gradients on sound propagation.

The results of NCHRP Project 25-34 are intended for use by experienced analysts, modelers, and designers. Report 791 will be of immediate use to experienced users of TNM by helping them to improve the accuracy and precision of their modeling results and inform decision-making related to the design of noise abatement measures.

TBT – HMMH’s First Model

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Yuki Kimura working with HMMH’s proprietary software StamPEDE – STAMINA Preprocessor for Easy Data Entry. It was used with a digitizer to enter coordinates for roadways, barriers and receivers to be used in the STAMINA highway noise prediction model.



Founder’s Award

Monday, October 28th, 2013

by Nick Miller

At last week’s HMMH Annual Stockholder Meeting, the Founders of HMMH presented their award for excellence “In recognition of outstanding performance on a project that was uniquely challenging, technically innovative, and resulted in proven client satisfaction.”  The award was given to the project “On-Board Sound Intensity Measurements to Evaluate the Noise Reduction of Pavement Grinding, I-195, Providence RI.”  The Project Manager was J. Eric Cox, Principal in Charge was Christopher W. Menge, and the team included James E. Ferguson III, and Ryan Cranfill.

From left: Carl Hanson, Chris Menge, J. Eric Cox, Nick Miller

From left: Carl Hanson, Chris Menge, J. Eric Cox, Nick Miller












The purpose of the project was to prove that adequate sound reduction of I-195 road noise had been achieved by diamond grinding of the concrete bridge deck, mainline roadway, and on/off/interchange ramp surfaces. Grinding operations were conducted to reduce noise generated by traffic traveling over transverse tining. The “OBSI” measurements had to be made on 19 ramps and roadway sections, in the wee morning hours when little other traffic was using the roadways.  Client David Freeman of Maguire Group, Providence, RI said that “it worked out really well and the results [of the measurements] were used to justify a bonus to the contractor.”

More information on OBSI can  be found on HMMH’s website:

Interest in Tire Pavement Noise Keeps Rolling at TRB Annual Meeting

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

by Doug Barrett

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) held its 90th Annual Meeting in Washington DC from January 23-37. Although I’ve attended many of these meetings, the size and breadth of the annual meeting always astonish me. This year’s meeting set a new record (over 10,900) and, as usual, there were workshops and sessions covering everything under the sun related to transportation.

As the primary source of traffic noise, tire-pavement noise continues to be a hot topic in the highway noise world. Although the ADC40 Committee on Transportation-Related Noise and Vibration is just one small part of the annual meeting, in recent years the Committee has broadened its scope by co-sponsoring sessions with other committees. This year, ADC40 co-sponsored three workshops or sessions on tire-pavement topics. Sunday morning’s workshop titled “Implementing Noise-Reducing Pavement Research, an International Perspective: Making Pavement Research Results Work in Practice” was followed by Monday’s session on the “Effect of Asphalt Mixture Composition on Friction and Noise,” and Wednesday’s “Tire-Pavement Noise” session. Co-sponsors of these workshops/sessions included the Committees on Surface Properties-Vehicle Interaction (AFD90), Characteristics of Asphalt-Aggregate Combinations to Meet Surface Requirements (AFK40), and Pavement Maintenance (AHD20).

One topic covered during these sessions was the use of On-Board Sound Intensity (OBSI) measurements. OBSI has gained widespread acceptance throughout the U.S. as a standardized approach for quantifying tire-pavement noise. Recently, HMMH conducted OBSI measurements at locations throughout Virginia, on behalf of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). The VDOT measurements are part of an ongoing program to document the long-term benefits of pavement overlays. OBSI measurements, however, not only can document the noise reduction benefits of quieter pavements, but also can help to identify louder pavements. As the noise program manager for another DOT said, his state’s ongoing OBSI test program is not about finding the quietest pavements – it’s about identifying the loudest ones!

OBSI Measurement

OBSI Measurement