Relation between observed and perceived traffic noise and socio-economic status in urban blocks of different characteristics
Living in cities offers many benefits and thus more and more people are living in urban areas. However, the concentration of human activities also creates environmental stressors with severe influence on people’s health and well-being. Noise is an environmental stressor with known health impact. Despite this, studies investigating small-scale difference in noise exposure and annoyance are lacking. Against this background, this case study investigates environmental justice empirically, focusing on the distribution of road traffic noise and its perception in Hamburg, Germany. The study outlines a methodological approach that takes into account subjective and objective measures of exposure in small-scale residential blocks. The results show that annoyance by noise is clearly related to noise emission. Moreover, different groups are affected by noise pollution in our study area unequally. In particular, younger people and people with lower socio-economic status have higher probabilities to be affected by noise. Additionally, it emerged that participants reporting higher levels of annoyance from noise are on average younger than those feeling less annoyed. Overall, these results show that the current legal noise limits applicable to residential planning processes in German cities are not sufficient to prevent substantial annoyance effects in residential populations.
road traffic noise
300: Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie
380: Handel, Kommunikation, Verkehr
710: Landschaftsgestaltung, Raumplanung