2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
Politicians are now vehemently pushing for quieter vehicles. However, the actually decisive factor in noise reduction is still the driver himself.
Fine dust and CO2 have been common terms for motorists for some time. But while these problems are still being hotly debated, the next environmental issue follows: reducing traffic noise. The first steps in this direction have already been taken, new limit values and guidelines for the volume of vehicles are probably only a matter of time. However, every road user can already contribute to noise reduction.
More and more noise
"The exposure to noise is a growing issue, especially in cities," explains Dietmar Oeliger from the Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU) in Berlin. "The decisive reference value is the road traffic noise." A new EU directive now addresses the noise on roads, rails and from air traffic.
"Among other things, the EU environmental noise directive stipulates that so-called noise maps for conurbations should be created by mid-2007," says Michael Niedermeier, traffic expert at ADAC in Munich. The maps should show in which areas or on which streets of the city the noise pollution is greatest.
Action plans are coming
But it won't stop with the cards alone. "One year later, action plans are to be submitted," says Niedermeier. These plans are intended to show ways in which noise pollution can be countered. Road surfaces that cause less noise when driven on, or special noise protection facades on houses are conceivable.
Cars in particular have made great technical advances in the past - they have not become quiet. According to a study by the Federal Environment Agency in Dessau in 2005, cars are basically still as loud as they were 25 years ago. The noise limit values have been steadily tightened - but the main issue is the engine noise, the tire rolling noise has not been adequately taken into account.
A question of measurement
Also, the advances in reducing engine noise are not as great as they could be - due in part to the way the limit values are measured. "Only one driving condition is measured," explains Gerd Lottsiepen from Verkehrsclub Deutschland (VCD) in Berlin. The automakers could design the vehicles to pass the test. However, the many different driving conditions in daily traffic may lead to completely different noise levels.
In any case, noise is not only about objective measured values, but also about subjectively perceived noise pollution. The monotonous hum of a busy street is not primarily noticeable. "You tend to feel disturbed by a truck with a rattling body or a particularly loud motorcycle," says Niedermeier.
Drive at low revs
When it comes to reducing noise in traffic, the driver is also important. How he uses the gas pedal and gear lever has a decisive influence on how much strain on the ears of other people. It is also a question of the speed at which the car is moved: In the city, an engine speed of 2000 revolutions per minute makes good progress. Gerd Lottsiepen explains the effects of low-speed driving with a comparison: "32 cars that are traveling at 2000 revs are as loud as a car that is driven at 4000 revs." (dpa)
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