Analysis of the Neighborhood Environmental Survey
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has undertaken a multi-year research effort to quantify the impacts of aircraft noise exposure on communities around commercial service airports in the United States (US). The goal of this research effort was to develop an updated and nationally representative civil aircraft dose-response curve, quantifying the relationship between aircraft noise exposure and community annoyance. To characterize this relationship, the research team designed and conducted the Neighborhood Environmental Survey (NES), which collected information from a statistically representative number of adult residents living around a balanced sample of 20 US. Airports — objectively chosen to reflect the nation as a whole. From the survey data, a national dose-response curve was derived that describes the relationship between aircraft noise exposure [in terms of DayNight Average Sound Level (DNL)] and the percentage of individuals reported as being highly annoyed by aircraft noise. Aircraft noise exposure levels were modeled using the FAA Integrated Noise Model (INM), version 7.0d; based on 12-month sets of aircraft flight tracking data collected between 2012 and 2014 for each NES airport. Community response data was collected through a mail survey questionnaire, designed to follow the recommendations of the International Commission on the Biological Effects of Noise (ICBEN) (Fields et al. 2001), requesting respondents to rank on a scale from 1 to 5 (with 5 being most): “Thinking about the last 12 months or so, when you are here at home, how much does [noise from aircraft] bother, disturb or annoy you?” Responses of either 4 or 5 where then considered as “highly annoyed.” Just over 10,000 people completed and returned the mail questionnaire (resulting in a response rate of 40 percent); administered in six separate “waves” over a 12-month period beginning in October 2015. Logistic regression analysis of the “highly-annoyed” responses from the mail questionnaire and their associated aircraft noise exposure levels were used to generate the national doseresponse curve. The percentage of those surveyed who were highly annoyed by aircraft noise increased monotonically with increasing noise exposure. In comparison to prior studies on this topic, the NES’s national curve shows substantially more people highly annoyed for a given DNL aircraft noise exposure level.
DOT/FAA/TC-21/4 Authors: Miller, Nicholas P.; Czech, Joseph J.; Hellauer, Kurt M.; Nicholas, Bradley L.; Lohr, Sharon; Jodts, Eric; Broene, Pam; Morganstein, David; Kali, Jennifer; Zhu, Xiaoshu; Cantor, David; Hudnall, Jeannie; Melia, Karen