Analyzing transportation noise during the pandemic.



The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new challenges in the approach to many types of projects in the field of acoustical consulting. An important one being the impact on how transportation noise studies are conducted, in particular on-site noise measurements and subsequent computer modeling.  The pandemic has affected roadway, railway, and aircraft travel, and consequently the noise generated by these transportation noise sources. This raises questions about the methods used to determine existing and future transportation noise impact upon residential sites.  After a year into the pandemic, it appears that postponing an analysis is no longer feasible and that the need for an adaptable method of analysis is required to meet jurisdictional transportation noise analysis requirements.

How should these studies be completed during this time in which it is highly likely that roadway, railway, and aircraft volumes are not what they were pre-pandemic? How or even should on-site noise measurements be taken?  Will the local jurisdictions accept the studies completed during the pandemic?  When will roadway, railway, and airport volumes be back to pre-pandemic levels, or will they ever be back to that volume?  Will there be a significant impact on noise?  This paper will follow the process used to complete transportation noise studies during the pandemic, which involved creatively adapting known methods to address these new questions while working closely with local jurisdictions, providing the education and guidance needed for them to comfortably review studies so that the transportation noise component of site approval does not slow down residential projects.