Research Methods for Understanding Aircraft Noise Annoyance and Sleep Disturbance

Community exposure to aircraft noise has historically led to public opposition against airport activity and development. The seminal work by Schultz published in 1978 developed a correlation (exposure-response relationship) between transportation noise exposure levels in terms of the day-night average noise level (DNL) and the percentage of the population highly annoyed by that noise using social surveys, the most commonly accepted means of measuring annoyance. Schultz' work was reaffirmed by the Federal Interagency Committee on Noise (FICON) in 1992. Since then, research in the United States on the effects of aircraft noise has lagged, while aircraft noise has continued to evolve with substantial increases in traffic volume and significant improvements in noise levels of single aircraft. It is therefore unclear whether an exposure-response relationship based on currently available data is sufficiently representative for U.S. airports today. Aircraft noise may also disturb sleep. Developing a relationship between the degree of sleep disturbance and the level of noise exposure is a prerequisite for identifying and protecting communities from adverse noise effects. There is currently no widely accepted exposure-response relationship for sleep disturbance. Establishing up-to-date exposure-response relationships for community annoyance and sleep disturbance in the U.S. requires an extensive data acquisition campaign covering a wide variety of airport types and geographic locations, which in turn requires a well-designed study. Research is needed to develop a protocol for conducting large-scale social surveys to acquire data for understanding noise exposure-annoyance relationships and to develop methods to better understand the effects of aircraft noise on sleep. The objectives of this research are to (1) develop and validate a research protocol for a large-scale study of aircraft noise exposure-annoyance response relationships across the U.S. and (2) propose alternative research methods for field studies to assess the relationship between aircraft noise and sleep disturbance for U.S. airports. Accomplishment of the project objectives will be conducted in three phases. Phase I will cover the aircraft noise exposure-annoyance response research; Phase II will cover the aircraft noise and sleep disturbance research; and Phase III will consist of final report preparation.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 02-35

  • 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:

    Navarrete, Joseph

  • Performing Organizations:

    Harris, Miller, Miller & Hamilton, Incorporated

  • Principal Investigators:

    Miller, Nick

  • Start Date: 20110920
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20140630
  • Source Data: RiP Project 28855

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01546043
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 02-35
  • Files: RiP
  • Created Date: Dec 2 2014 1:01AM