Acoustical Design to Improve Intelligibility of Airport Terminal PA Systems

Audible announcements in airport terminals are often hard to understand. When airport terminals are active, the intelligibility of emergency communication systems declines, meaning that people with average hearing abilities find it hard to understand the spoken message, due to the increase in background noise. Understanding those messages is even harder for the hearing impaired, and also for people whom English is not their native language. Poor intelligibility in communications systems degrades the performance of fire alarms, public address and emergency announcements which are critical in airport terminals. In order to improve the acoustics of existing airport terminals, and develop guidelines for future terminal design, a study of the existing acoustic conditions is required and should include how the architectural design and design of audio systems within terminals affect intelligibility of emergency and non-emergency announcements. The study would collect data regarding sound distribution systems, terminal finishes and background noise levels throughout various occupied areas of each airport terminal. Based on the results of the study design guidelines relating to acoustics, noise and intelligibility could be developed for future terminal design. Acoustical design guidelines would include design best practices for reducing reverberation, noise control and sound system design. Results of the study would also include recommendations for enhancing intelligibility in existing airport terminals. A study on acoustics and intelligibility in airport terminals could lead to some design recommendations which ultimately enhance passenger safety. The objective of this research is to summarize the existing acoustic design guidelines commonly used when airport terminals are constructed, identify their shortcomings, and identify ways to improve the acoustical design guidelines used in airport terminals.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $350000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 07-14

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Schatz, Theresia

  • Start Date: 20141114
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37568

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01543469
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 07-14
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 15 2014 1:01AM