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Introduction and Guidebook Summary 7 Be Ahead with Communication Be open to the public. Give them what they The history of most airports is decades long many over a half century. The last 50 years want in terms of data, have been a time of major suburban growth. Airports that were built far from development information. People do now often find neighborhoods surrounding them and the public residing much closer than not want information controlled. Give it to they once were. Airports are upgrading and adding facilities, adding or changing their service them with no hesita- or basic mission, incorporating on-airport development, and expanding boundaries to meet tion. If you do not give aviation demand. All these efforts generate public interest and potentially have negative public people the data they reactions. Airports, no matter how small and seemingly stable, should develop a communica- want then they get tion strategy to engage the public that looks far into the future to assure that the airport will upset because it looks like you are hiding remain a part of that future. something. (SFO) Be honest, be truthful, give the public the facts Best Metrics to Communicate and explain why. (VNY) the Characteristics of Noise It is taken for granted Based on the interviews conducted with members of the public, airport noise officers and man- that staff must have or agers, and the experience of the authors, the public has great difficulty relating the aircraft noise be able to acquire at that they can hear and identify to the way noise exposure is assessed and mapped at airports. least minimal technical skills to work at an Although the DNL metric integrates the noise generated by every single event, at its variable loud- airport on noise issues. ness, that affects a location, and adjusts the level of effect by the time of the day to provide, the A hard-learned lesson metric is so complex that the public loses sight of its components. Based the findings of this study, however, is that the best practices for communicating noise event information to the public are: people-skills are at a similar level of impor- The Day Night Sound Level (DNL) must be included among the metrics used by airports tance. (SDF) to communicate its noise exposure patterns to the public. Although it may not be well- understood, its regulatory basis makes it essential for publication and distribution of noise Staff should be very personable; able to go exposure patterns. In California, the Community Noise Equivalent Level (CNEL) is an to the middle ground acceptable substitute. in dealing with the The Sound Exposure Level (SEL) is an important tool to help convey the potential effect of public; honest; diplo- aircraft noise on sleep disturbance and the disruption of learning. It also is used as the matic; a good listener proper measure for determining exterior to interior attenuation levels for sound insulation from the public's per- spective (shouldn't say programs. Although the SEL may be developed over any period of time, an evaluation of the that the public's com- SEL of single aircraft operations forms the basis of all compatibility computations of DNL. plaint or idea is ridicu- The Number of Events Above (NA) a selected sound level threshold (in SEL or decibels) has lous); able to deal with been identified by many public correspondents as the most meaningful metric to understand and provide informa- the components of existing noise, and the comparison of differences between existing noise tion; very courteous, knowledgeable, fac- and alternative conditions. It responds directly to the events an individual hears and how loud tual and accurate. (FLL) those events are expected to be. The Time Above (TA) a select sound level threshold of decibels appears to be best applied to Think of the implica- assessment of ground noise, particularly when the majority of that noise occurs within a nar- tions of change long row band of loudness. It also is a preferred metric for the investigation of the amount of time before change happens and be ready to schools are exposed to noise levels in excess of the speech disturbance level which may inter- address it (SDF) rupt the both the lecture and cognitive processes. Cumulative versus Single Event Noise Federal regulation requires that noise be reported in a cumulative daily average because the best correlates to annoyance. The public demands that noise be described as it is heard. Effectively using single event metrics to complement the required cumulative noise metric is critical to good communication about aircraft noise issues.