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A field study was carried out measuring the responses to traffic noise of 1150 subjects at 46 different sites. The merits of a number of statistical noise measures were compared in terms of the accuracy with which they predicted responses. Measures most representative of only local traffic noise were most successful and included L10 and Leq values. The inclusion of measures of noise level fluctuations was found to be of minimal importance, and suggested that increased levels of fluctuations decreased adverse responses. The difference between day and night time noise levels also had only a small influence on responses and was largely due to the more disturbing nature of night time noise. Vehicle flow measures, particularly the logarithm of the total vehicle flow rate, were found to quite accurately predict responses. Results supported the concept of disturbance relating to noise measures representative of the energy equivalent level of only the particular noise in question (here traffic noise) as a potentially unifying basis for a wide range of statistical noise measures.
vehicle flow rate, noise levels, predictors, human responses, traffic noise
Assistant professor, Faculty of Engineering Science, The University of Western Ontario, London,