UBC Undergraduate Research

An exploration of various aircraft noise contour models and the ways in which these models fail as effective land-use planning tools Watanabe, Harley


The impacts of noise generated from airports affect many surrounding communities and present a significant issue for the airport operators, airlines, and aircraft and engine manufacturers. Airports are therefore required to create noise contour maps of the noise measured around the surrounding communities and communities that experience high levels of noise. These noise contour maps should then be used as a land-use planning tool in order to assist developers to make noise sensitive decisions when building on or near high-noise level areas. However, in this paper, I identify three essential limitations of noise contour model that can have negative implications to the surrounding community and airport authorities: 1) The inability for noise contour metrics to adequately incorporate community perception of noise, 2) Public inability to accurately interpret resulting contour maps, and 3) Non-legally binding land-use requirements for surrounding communities. Further, this paper explores the possible ways that Vancouver International Airport (YVR) can overcome these limitations. For the first limitation, those representing YVR should choose metrics that accurately map noise perceived, rather than noise measured. This speaks to the issue between acoustic and non-acoustic factors influencing noise perception. For the second limitation, those representing YVR should be ready to fully describe the details of the noise emitted by airports and aircraft in that community. While, doing this, YVR should take the “good neighbor” strategy outlined by Upham et al (2003) in order to show the public that they are taking these concerns seriously by publicly setting targets for mitigation. Finally, the last limitation is responsibility of the developers and municipalities to follow governmental land-use recommendations in regards to high levels of noise.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada