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10 CHAPTER THREE ANNOYANCE AND AVIATION NOISE Annoyance remains the single most significant effect associ- curve such as the one in FICON, in light of the high data vari- ated with aviation noise. Community annoyance is the ability, the effect of low- and high-noise exposure levels on aggregate community response to long-term, steady-state the curve fit, and the lack of consideration of other variables exposure conditions. However, to adequately support in community response to noise. government noise policy-making efforts, it is necessary to synthesize the large amount of data contained in journal A comprehensive review and critique of the Fidell et al. up- articles and technical reports to develop a useful exposure- date was later published by Fields (1994) that raises questions response relationship. about the use of the synthesis data to develop the commonly used annoyance/DNL dose-response relationship. The report In his seminal journal article, Schultz (1978) reviewed data arrives at several conclusions, including "the curve is NOT a from social surveys concerning the noise of aircraft, street and measurement of the relationship between DNL and the expressway traffic, and railroads. Going back to the original percentage of the population that would describe themselves published data, the various survey noise ratings were trans- as `highly annoyed'" and "if it is necessary to estimate the lated to Day-Night Average Noise Level (DNL) and, where a dose/response relationship . . . a single constituent survey pro- choice was needed, an independent judgment was made as to vides a better estimate" (Fields 1994). which respondents should be counted as "highly annoyed." According to Schultz ". . . the basic rule adopted was to count Fidell et al.'s expansion of the existing community as `highly annoyed' the people who responded on the upper annoyance research database and their revised prediction 27% to 29% of the annoyance scale . . ." (Schultz 1978). curve provided a considerable extension of the original Schultz meta-analysis (Fidell et al. 1991). However, because For decades, environmental planners have relied heavily on there were several debatable methodological issues involved the Schultz Curve for predicting the community annoyance in this update, Finegold et al. (1994) reanalyzed the Fidell et produced by noise from transportation noise sources. Notwith- al. data focusing primarily on the choice of screening criteria standing the methodological questions, errors in measurement for selecting which studies to include in the final database of both noise exposure and reported annoyance, data interpre- and the choice of a data fitting algorithm. tation differences, and the problem of community response bias, Schultz's recommended relationship has historically Using the new data set, a new logistic fit curve as the been the most widely accepted interpretation of the social prediction curve of choice was developed and adopted by survey literature on transportation noise-induced annoyance. FICON in 1992 for use by federal agencies in aircraft noise- related environmental impact analyses (Federal Interagency Beginning with the publication of this original exposure- Committee on Noise 1992). It was also adopted as part of the response curve, work has continued in many countries to American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard on conduct new field studies, develop databases with the results community responses to environmental noises (Acoustical of dozens of new social surveys, and explore whether sepa- Society of American 2006). Finegold et al. (1994) showed rate curves are needed to describe community responses to that if the data are broken down into separate curves for aircraft, street traffic, and railway noise. Based on an updat- various types of transportation noises (aircraft, roadway, and ing of the Schultz curve by Fidell et al. (1991), the Technical rail noise) aircraft noise appears to be more annoying at the Section of the Federal Interagency Committee on Noise same DNL than road or rail noise. (FICON), stated in 1992 that there were no new descriptors or metrics of sufficient scientific standing to substitute for the Over the past decade, Miedema and Vos (1998) have present DNL cumulative noise exposure metric (Federal compiled the most comprehensive database of community Interagency Committee on Noise 1992). The dose-response annoyance data yet available, and several studies have been relationship, as represented by DNL, and the percentage of published on the results of their analyses. It is a comprehen- persons "highly annoyed" remains the best available sive review of an issue--separate, non-identical curves for approach for analyzing overall health and welfare impacts for aircraft, road traffic, and railway noise--that has been the the vast majority of transportation noise analyses. In later years, subject of much debate since Shultz published his data in Fidell goes on to criticize the use of this type of simplistic 1978. Caution should be exercised, however, when drawing
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11 conclusions about the state of knowledge regarding the rela- might lead to improved means for predicting community tionship between various transportation noise sources and response to transportation noise. It provides an important sum- community annoyance. mary of how the annoyance synthesis was developed, and the inherent weakness of the DNL/dose-response relationship that The European Commission position on annoyance is based was developed. Fidell is highly critical of U.S. policy that relies on a report recommending the percentage of persons "highly solely on the synthesized dose-response relationship. annoyed" be used as the descriptor for noise annoyance. Similar to Miedema and Vos (1999) the report distinguishes Fidell and Silvati (2004) identified shortcomings of a fitting between aircraft, road, and rail traffic noise; recommends use function endorsed by FICON for predicting annoyance in pop- of a separate pair of curves ("annoyed" and "highly annoyed") ulations exposed to aircraft noise that are well-understood and for each; and clearly shows a tendency to treat aircraft, road, well-documented. The authors argue that the U.S. National and rail noise as unique when estimating population that will Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (1969) requires the use of be "annoyed" or "highly annoyed" by noise (Miedema and the best-available technology for disclosure of noise impacts Vos 1999). of major federal actions, even though reliance on the FICON curve for meeting NEPA requirements does not use the best In their 1999 paper, Miedema and Vos further studied the available technology. effects of demographic variables (sex, age, education level, occupational status, size of household, dependency on the To summarize, significant research has occurred since the noise source, use of the noise source, etc.) and two attitudi- 1985 aviation effects report was published. Although no nal variables (noise sensitivity and fear of the noise source) current research suggests there is a better metric than DNL to on annoyance. The results are very interesting and suggest relate to annoyance, there still remains significant contro- that fear and noise sensitivity has a large impact on annoy- versy over the use of the dose-response annoyance curve first ance. Additionally, in a 2002 report by Fidell et al., it is sug- developed by Schultz and then updated by others. Further, gested that a good part of the excess annoyance is attributable investigations that report a distinct percentage of the popula- to the net influence of non-acoustic factors. tions that will be highly annoyed at a given DNL may be incorrectly interpreted as to having a more precise meaning Some of the most interesting research comes from Fidell's than should be taken from the data. Lastly, a relatively new "The Schultz Curve 25 Years Later: A Research Perspective" concept is that more research tends to support the idea that (2003). It presents the argument that although federal adoption dose-response curves are different for aircraft, road, and rail of an annoyance-based rationale for regulatory policy has made noise sources. Areas of research that remain to be investi- this approach a familiar one, it is only one of several historical gated include the relationship between single-event noise perspectives, and not necessarily the most useful for all levels and annoyance. The expanding use of airport noise purposes. This tutorial article traces the development of the monitoring systems, flight-tracking systems, and geographic dosage-effect relationship on which FICON currently relies and information systems may make the evaluation of annoyance identifies areas in which advances in genuine understanding and single-event noise rich for examination.