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European Environment Agency Sets Target to Reduce Transport Noise by 30%

por Ericson Scorsim

out 03, 2022

The European Environment Agency has set a target to reduce transport noise by 30% by 2030.[1] Exposure of the population to noise severely threatens people’s health and well-being, hence the need for regulation. Noise reduction measures affect means of road, rail, and air transport.  These are measures to be adopted to mitigate the noise generated by transport vehicles. Among such measures is the large-scale adoption of electric vehicles: cars, motorcycles, buses, and trucks. Another measure is the reduction of speed limits to 30 km/h on urban roads, and streets close. Another measure is to limit the noise level of motor vehicles. And yet another rule is to expand the use of noise-reducing asphalt. 

In the rail transportation sector, measures include building new, quieter infrastructure, using quieter brake systems, and increasing train electrification. Adoption of quieter aircraft by the air transport sector will be encouraged.  There are several noise reduction projects in European cities. Monza, in Italy, has defined low emission zones to reduce traffic noise.  Zurich, Switzerland, has redefined city speed limits to reduce transport noise. The Swiss rail transport system has adopted quieter braking systems on its trains. In Germany, Berlin has seen a reduction in the number of rapid transit lines, with an increase in bicycle lanes and pedestrian areas. In Spain, Madrid has adopted measures such as noise barriers near the streets and asphalt paving to reduce noise. Brazil can be inspired by this initiative of the European Environment Agency and implement in Brazilian cities models to reduce environmental noise and promote acoustic environmental sustainability in the context of smarter, healthier, and more sustainable cities.  

The anti-noise policy will cater to public health, welfare, and the environment. In my book Regulatory Proposals – Urban Anti-Noise, author’s edition, published on Amazon, 2022, I point out regulatory options for governments to update legislation and adopt better standards to promote the principle of sound efficiency, not only in transport systems and urban mobility but also in the equipment and machinery industry. To sum up: there is much to be done on acoustic environmental sustainability in cities to protect public health and welfare and provide environmental quality for citizens.   

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Ericson Scorsim. Lawyer and Public Law Consultant Ph.D. in Law from the University of São Paulo (USP). Author of the book Propostas Regulatórias: Anti-Ruídos Urbanos (Regulatory Proposals:

[1] European Environment Agency. Outlook to 2030 – Can the number of people affected by transport noise be cut by 30%? See, also, Projected health impacts from transport noise – Exploring two scenarios for 2030, authors Núria Blanes and others, European Environment Agency.