Environmental Noise Exposure Assessments

Empa has a long tradition in the development of engineering models, going back to the 1980’s with a first generation of road traffic, railway, aircraft, and shooting noise models (StL-86, SEMIBEL, FLULA2, Wapa, SL-90). Our understanding of noise generation, radiation and propagation phenomena as well as our measurement and signal analysis capabilities enable us to evaluate and optimize challenging practical noise situations and to develop predictive computer models for large-scale environmental noise exposure assessments. Our calculation methods are incorporated in the latest-generation software of engineering models of the "son"-family for the most important environmental noise sources, with sonROAD18, sonRAIL, sonAIR and sonARMS for road traffic, railway, aircraft and shooting noise, respectively, and are evaluated with our wave-based reference models. The emission models sonROAD18 and sonRAIL are publicly available as web applications (https://sonrail.empa.ch/ https://sonroad18.empa.ch/), and sonARMS for the prediction of area-wide shooting noise exposure assessments can be downloaded from the homepage of the Federal Office for the Environment FOEN. sonAIR is currently in use for scientific projects and under validation to replace the current best-practice model FLULA2 for official aircraft noise calculations in Switzerland within the next years.
Besides modelling, Empa is well equipped and experienced in organizing and conducting all sorts of demanding field measurement campaigns. For example, our set of highly automated acoustic monitoring stations, partly equipped with weather stations, is used for a wide range of long-time monitoring purposes, ranging from aircraft noise measurements to soundscape evaluations.


Example of calculation results of sonRAIL. In the noise map the village of Steinen in the canton of Schwyz along the north-south railway corridor through Switzerland is shown.
Airbus A340-300 departing from runway 16 of Zurich airport. Empa performs yearly aircraft noise calculations for Zurich and Geneva airports.