To regulate noise levels in dense populations, the European Union and the European Parliament enacted the Environmental Noise Directive (END) in 2002. END’s objectives determine a population’s exposure to noise through mapping, provide public access to environmental noise information, and establish action plans based on the mapping results.

Noise modeling and mapping need to be addressed in agglomerations—areas of dense population or industrial activity. The action plans are intended to preserve the environmental noise quality of those areas with desirable levels, while reducing levels in areas where there is a potential for negative impact. In Scotland, noises caused from road, rail and air traffic, and industrial activities are required to meet END compliance.

AECOM developed an automated noise mapping tool to help the Scottish government track noise levels and ensure compliance across the country, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Dundee. Our scope of services also included data collection and preparation, noise modeling and strategic noise map generation and analysis. The tool created a functional map that better interpreted areas of greatest need for noise abatement.

Our approach integrated traditional 3D noise mapping software with a geographical information system tool. The result significantly improved output graphics by producing noise contours for the maps and helping to automate the data handling at multiple stages by streamlining detailed spreadsheets that contained information about noise exposure on each property. The noise maps resemble heat diagrams with clear hotspots indicating areas with the greatest noise, making it easier to understand and accurately interpret information at a glance.

Our unique prioritization scoring tool makes it possible to identify where to take action first by pinpointing areas where the most people are affected by noise. This information is proving critical to the Scottish government’s strategic approach to address noise exposures.