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widely because of their simplicity and relatively high success in making accurate
noise predictions. The NCHRP 1! procedure is the last revision in the series. "t
contains a four#step procedure for the prediction and control of highway noise. $e
have limited ourselves to the first prediction step% that is% the &short method.& The
'ederal Highway (dministration )'H$(* has developed sophisticated computer
models to replace the NCHRP 1! manual techni+ue used in this te,t for illustration
purposes. "n 1--% the 'H$( will release a new version )Traffic Noise .odel
#TN.% /ersion 1.0* that will replace a pair of computer programs% 1tamina 2.0 and
3ptima% now in use.
The ob4ective of the &short method& is to obtain a +uick and gross )always
overpredicting* prediction of the e,pected noise levels. This is necessary because
the prediction of true highway noise levels is a rather complicated sub4ect. "n many
instances it is desirable to first obtain a rough idea of the potential problem areas
before full knowledge of the hori5ontal and vertical roadway design parameters has
been gained. 1uch is the case% for e,ample% of a location study where a number of
alignments must be considered. (lso% this first step helps to eliminate areas that do
not represent a problem in terms of noise levels% thus simplifying further evaluation.
The &short method& prediction can be performed +uickly through use of two
nomographs and knowledge of a few traffic and roadway parameters.
7y its design%
the &short method& re+uires many assumptions and appro,imations and should not
be used as a final tool.
The second step )the &complete method&* utili5es a microcomputer program
to refine the predictions made in the lirst step. The third step is the selection of a
noise control design. The fourth step is to redo the second step and check the design
solution. "n the following paragraphs we have reproduced the short method as it
appears in NCHRP 1!% with the addition of clarifying comments and modification
to 1" units.
.ethodology. The flow diagram that illustrates the methodology of the short
method is shown in 'igure #68. The method assumes that the roadway can be
appro,imated by one infinite element with constant traffic parameters and roadway
The initial step in using the short method consists of defining an infinite
straight#line appro,imation to the real highway configuration. 3n#ramps% off#ramps%
and interchange ramps are omitted from the short method analysis.
3nce the appro,imate roadway has been chosen% the following parameters
must be computed or estimated9 )a* the traffic parameters% which include the speed
and volume of each class of vehicles: (b) the propagation characteristics% which
describe the location of the receiver relative to the roadway: and )c* the roadway#
shielding parameters% which describe the shielding provided by the roadway% if any.
;3nly barriers located within the right#of#way )R3$* may be considered.<
A nomograph is a graph that provi!s th! so"#tion to an !$#ation or s!ri!s o% !$#ations &ontaining thr!! or
mor! varia'"!s (s!! )ig#r! *+3,-.
2ropagation 2aram!t!r
Roa/a0 + O's!rv!r
Distan&!3 D&
L3o Nomograph
Unshi!"! L"o L!v!"s
at O's!rv!r ('0
V!hi&"! T0p!-
L-o at O's!rv!r
Tota" L"o L!v!" at
(A"" V!hi&"! T0p!s-
)IGURE *+34
)"o/ iagram o% m!thoo"og0 %or app"0ing NC5R2 1*6 m!tho %or !stimating L -0 %rom tra%%i&.
(Source: NCHRP 174, 1,*6.-
These parameters are used in two operations. 'irst% the traffic and propagation
parameters are combined in the L 10 nomograph to determine% for each type of source%
the unshielded =io level at the observer.
The final result is then compared to the criteria level% Lc, at the observer )see%
for e,ample% Table #6* to define a &no problem& or &potential problem& condition.
"f a potential problem is identified% the observer location in +uestion should be eval #
uated using the complete method.
Procedure. The step#by#step procedures necessary to calculate noise levels by the
short method are presented in the following numbered paragraphs. "n addition to
the nomographs% the method uses a noise prediction worksheet to aid the user in the
se+uential steps. ( blank worksheet and larger scale nomographs are included in
(ppendi, 7.
Roa+7hi!"ing 2aram!t!r
L87 Distan&!3 L87 9arri!r
2osition3 2 9arri!r 9r!a:3
9 Ang"! 7#'t!n!3 ,
Tra%%i& 2aram!t!r
Vo"#m! an Av!rag! 7p!!;
M!i#m Tr#&:s
5!av0 Tr#&:s
9arri!r Nomograph
7hi!"ing A<#stm!nt
('0 V!hi&"! T0p!-
D!sign Nois! L!v!"3 L
)52M *+*+3
D!sign G#i! Crit!ria
radial distance r from the sphere is inversely proportional to th! s+uare of distance%
that is9
where ? @ sound intensity% watts?m
W @ sound power of source% watts
This is the inverse square law. "t e,plains that portion of the reduction of sound
intensity with distance that is due to wave divergence )'igure #60*. "f we measure
sound power level (Lw, re9 10&
$* rather than sound power (W), we can rewrite
A+uation #1> in terms of sound pressure level9
LPs< Lw-20 log r# 11 )#1*
where Lp @ sound pressure level% d7 re9 20 ?=iPa Lw @
sound power level% d7 re9 10&
r @ distance between source and receiver% m 20
log r @ decibel transform @ l3logr
11 @ decibel transform a ;B0 log)!r* @ 10.--<
The tilde )C*% indicating &appro,imately%& results from the assumptions used above.
Lw should be computed for ull fre+uency bands of interest.
Raiation )i!"s o% a 7o#n 7o#r&!
The character of the wave radiation from a noise source will vary with distance from
the source )'igure #61*. (t locations close to the source% the near fiel, the particle
velocity is not in phase with the sound pressure. "n this area% Lp fluctuates with
distance and does not follow the inverse s+uare law. $hen the particle velocity and
sound pressure are in phase% the location of the sound measurement is said to be in the
far fiel. "f the sound source is in free space% that is% there are no reflecting surfaces%
then measurements in the far field are also free fiel measuremen!s. "f the sound
source is in a highly reflective space% for e,ample% a room with steel walls% ceiling%
)IGURE *+30
"llustration of inverse s+uare "a/.
)IGURE *+31
/ariation of sound#pressure level in an
enclosure along radius r from a noise
source. ("ource# =. =. 7eranek% $oise
an %ibra!ion &on!rol, New Dork9
.cEraw#Hill% 1-1. Reprinted by per#
and floor% then measurements in the far field are also reverberan! fiel measuremen!s.
The shaded area in the far field of 'igure #61 shows that Lp does not follow the
inverse s+uare law in the reverberant field.
.ost real sources do not radiate sound uniformly in all directions. "f you were to
measure the sound pressure level in a given fre+uency band at a fi,ed distance from
a real source% you would find different levels for different directions. "f you plotted
these data in polar coordinates% you would obtain the directivity pattern of the source.
The irec!ivi!' fac!or is the numerical measure of the directivity of a sound source.
"n logarithmic form the directivity factor is called the irec!ivi!' ine(. 'or a
spherical source it is defined as follows9
)l e * L+ # Lp s )#1Fa*
where Lpn , sound pressure level measured at distance r- and angle 0G from a
directive source radiating power W into an echo#free .anechoic)
space% d7
Lp( @ sound pressure level measured at distance r- from a nondirective
source radiating power W into anechoic space% d7
'or a source located on or near a hard% flat surface% the directivity inde, takes
the following form9
H 6 )#1FI*
Lpe -
The 6 d7 addition is made because the measurement is made over a hemisphere
instead of a sphere. That is% the intensity at a radius% r% is twice as large if a source
radiates into a hemisphere rather than the ideal sphere we have used up to this point.
Aach directivity inde, is applicable only to the angle at which Lp/ was measured
and only for the fre+uency at which it was measured.
/ =
J @ 2u(% /h!r! A + /av!"!ngth3 K has #nits o% reciprocal "!ngth3 nvK.
LThis can '! proven by using A+uations #!% #8% #-% #10% and #11% and th! ass#mption that pc
600 :g8m
> s.
&This is the same source as the ir!&tiv! so#r&!3 '#t a&ting in th! i!a" %ashion that /! ass#m! in
developing the inverse s+uare law.
20 60 !0
Transmission =oss Potential
vicinity. "f an intermittent schedule is not possible% then workers should be given
relief time during the day. They should take their relief time at a low#noise#level lo#
cation% and should be discouraged from trading relief time for dollars% paid vacation%
or an &early out& at the end of the dayM
"nherently noisy operations% such as street repair% municipal trash collection%
factory operation% and aircraft traffic% should be curtailed at night and early mom#
ing to avoid disturbing the sleep of the community. Remember9 operations between
10 P... and (... are effectively 10 d7( higher than the measured value.
Ear prot!&tion. .olded and pliable earplugs% cup#type protectors% and helmets are
commercially available as hearing protectors. 1uch devices may provide noise re#
ductions ranging from 18 to 68 d7 )'igure #!8*. Aarplugs are effective only if they
are properly fitted by medical personnel. (s shown in 'igure #!8% ma,imum pro#
tection can be obtained when both plugs and muffs are employed. 3nly muffs that
have a certification stipulating the attenuation should be used.
These devices should be used only as a last resort% after all other methods have
failed to lower the noise level to acceptable limits. Aar protection devices should
be used while operating lawn mowers% mulchers% and chippers% and while firing
weapons at target ranges. "t should be noted that protective ear devices do interfere
with speech communication and can be a ha5ard in some situations where warning
calls may be a routine part of the operation )for e,ample% T".7ARRRRM*. ( modern
ear#destructive device is a portable mini#radio?recorder that uses earphones. "n this
&reverse& muff% high noise levels are directed at the ear without attenuation. "f you
can hear someone elseKs radio?recorder% that person is sub4ecting him# or herself to
noise levels in e,cess of -0N-8 d7(M
. , / >''
'"EORA #!!
Transmission loss potential versus transmission loss reali5ed for various opening
si5es as a percent of total wall area. ("ource# 7ell% 1unamen!als of0nus!rial $oise
&on!rol, Trumbull% CT9 Harmony Publications% 1-6. Reprinted by permission.*
maintenance of the pavement surface is essential to keep noise at minimum levels.
Normal road wear can yield noise increases on the order of > d7(. 0
2rot!&t th! R!&!iv!r ?
@h!n a"" !"s! %ai"s. $hen e,posure to intense noise fields is re+uired and none of
the measures discussed so far is practical% as% for e,ample% for the operator of a chain
saw or pavement breaker% then measures must be taken to protect the receiver. The
following two techni+ues arc commonly employed.
A"t!r /or: s&h!#"!. =imit the amount of continuous e,posure to high noise lev#
els. "n terms of hearing protection% it is preferable to schedule an intensely noisy
operation for a short interval of lime each day over a period
of several days rather than a continuous eight#hour run lor a
day or two.
"n industrial or construction operations% an
intermittent work schedule would benefit not only the
operator of the noisy e+uipment% but also other workers in
40 60
Dr0 Cotton 2"#gs
@a1+Impr!gnat! 7topp"!s3
2rop!r"0+)itt! 2"asti& Ins!rts
50 -1------1-------,-----1-----1-------1-----1
100 200 500 1000 2000 5000 10,000 ' Frequency (Hz)
'"EORA #!8
(ttenuation of ear protectors at various fre+uencies. ("ource# $a!ional 2ureau of "!anars 3anboo4
556, 1->.*
7o#n po/!r "!v!" #n:no/n. Pata on the sound power level (Lw) of many noise
sources are not readily available. 3n the other hand% data on the sound pressure level
(Lpg) at some given distance and angle fre+uently are available.
(n alternative e+uation to A+uation #20 makes use of e,isting measurements.
"t is given as follows9
pi @ Lp i # 20 l og , - 7!
Lp8 - the measured 1P= at angle 9 and distance r: from source d7 LP2 @
the desired 1P= at angle 0 and distance r; from source d7 r8, !2 * distance
from source to measurement Lp8 and Lp!, respectively 7e @ attenuation for
the distance r< , r8 d7
A,ample #. The sound pressure level )1P=* measured 80 m from a compressor is
-0 d7 at 1%000 H5. Petermine the 1P= 200 m upwind and downwind on a clear summer
afternoon if the wind speed is 8 m?s% the temperature is 20&C% the relative humidity is
80 percent% and the barometric pressure is 100.628 kPa.
"olu!ion. $e begin by computing the 7! terms. $e assume that the Lp8 measurement
was taken at the same temperature and pressure that the Lp2 estimate is to be made.
Thus% the value of 7e8 at r2 is the same as the value at r4% and the attenuation for
the distance r2 N r8 is 5ero% that is% 7e8 @ 0.0. The attenuation by air absorption is
calculated directly from A+uation #22 with the r< - r8 distance being 200 # 80 @
180 m.
^ = 7 . 4 X 1 0 - '
40 I
@ 0.22d7
$e assume that 7!=, 7+, and 7e> all e+ual 5ero for the reasons noted in the te,t. The
attenuation% 7+, for downwind may be determined from 'igure #62 after we have
computed the abscissa +uantity. Note that we assume that the 80#m measurement was
taken under the same conditions as for the prediction at 200 m. ,
'orn9 ..<,
fm Q r @ )1%000 H5*)80 m* # 8.0 Q 10& m?s L
and from 'igure #62 we find 7e9 is 0 d7. 'or r2#
fm?r @ )1%000 H5*)200 m* @ 2.00 Q 10
m?s and
7e9 @ 2 d7 from 'igure #62. The resultant value for r2 N r8 is then
7@ @ 2 # 0 @ 2 d7
'or the upwind case we must start with Table #F. 'rom the problem statement% we find
it is a clear summer afternoon. 'rom this we can assume a lapse temperature profile%
and since 8 m?s is within the limits of the table% ?o @ 8 m. (t lower wind speeds
the shadow 5one is removed to +uite a large distance and probably can be ignored for
all practical purposes. (t higher wind speeds the howl of the wind +uickly moves ?o
toward the source.
$ith ?o * 8% we calculate r?Qo for r8 and r2 separately% and take the difference in 7c!,
values. 'or r8#
A B A B 0 6 * + C D
X o * 4
a o 8
; :
and from 'igure #6!% 7e(, @ 0. 'or r2#
L @ 2 >
and 7c!, @ 28 d7 from 'igure #6!. The resultant value is
7!9 @ 28 # 0 @ 28 d7
The total downwind attenuation is then
2L@0 H 0.22 H 0 H 0 H 0 H 2
@ 2.22 #
The total upwind attenuation is then
L2 @ 0 H 0.22 H 0 H 0 H 0 H 28
@ 28.22 d7 RK
Osing A+uation #2!% the downwind 1P= is
200 Lp 2 @ -0#
20 l og L # 2. 22
@ 8.! or > d7 at 1%000 H5
The upwind 1P= is
=00 Lp 2 @-0#
20 l og L # 28. 22
@ 82.! or 86 d7 at 1%000 H5
3bviously% it is much better to be upwind. Note that if you wished to estimate Leq,
LnA L7, and so on% the value of Lp2 would have to be calculated at each octave band
geometric mean fre+uency and then summed by decibel addition.
Nationa" Coop!rativ! 5igh/a0
R!s!ar&h 2rogram 1*6 - <
The National Cooperative Highway Research Program has developed a series of doc#
uments )NCHRP 11% NCHRP 1!!% and NCHRP 1!* that provide design guidance
for the prediction and control of highway noise.
These documents have been used
7. (ndrew Jugler% Paniel A. Commins% and $illiam S. Ealloway% 3ighwa' $oise# 7 )esign Buie
for Preic!ion an &on!rol, National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 1!%1->.