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Spatial variation in sound frequency components across an urban area derived from mobile surveys

Spatial variation in sound frequency components across an urban area derived from mobile surveys
Spatial variation in sound frequency components across an urban area derived from mobile surveys
Continuous exposure to noise can lead to premature hearing loss, reduced cognitive performance, insomnia, stress, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Road noise affects the health of >125 million people in the European Union and Member States are required to map major noise hotspots. These strategic noise maps are usually derived from traffic counts and propagation models because large-scale measurement of the acoustic environment using conventional methods is infeasible. In this study, the authors surveyed the entire city of Southampton, UK using a mobile survey technique, capturing spatial variations in street-level sound characteristics across multiple frequencies from all sound sources. Over 52,000 calibrated and georeferenced sound clips covering 11 Hz to 22.7 kHz are analysed here to investigate variations in sound frequency composition across urban space and then applied to two issues: the definition of naturalness in the acoustic environment; and perceptions of social inequity in sound exposure. Clusters of acoustic characteristics were identified and mapped using spectral clustering and principal components analysis based on octave bands, ecoacoustic indices and dBA. We found independent patterns in low, mid and high frequencies, and the ecoacoustic indices that related to land use. Ecoacoustic indices partially mapped onto greenspace, identifying naturalness, but not uniquely, probably because urban anthropogenic sounds occur at higher frequencies than in the natural areas where such indices were developed. There was some evidence of inequity in sound exposure according to social deprivation and ethnicity, and results differed according to frequency bands. The consequences of these findings and the benefits of city-wide sound surveys for urban planning are discussed.
Noise Pollution;, Soundscapes;, Urban Form; , Spatial Analysis; , Naturalness; , Social Equity; , Ecosystem Services
2363-9075
1-17
Alvares-Sanches, Tatiana
1b9cb890-d1ad-4955-a876-fd62811620c6
Osborne, Patrick
c4d4261d-557c-4179-a24e-cdd7a98fb2b8
White, Paul
2dd2477b-5aa9-42e2-9d19-0806d994eaba
Bahaj, Abubakr
a64074cc-2b6e-43df-adac-a8437e7f1b37
Alvares-Sanches, Tatiana
1b9cb890-d1ad-4955-a876-fd62811620c6
Osborne, Patrick
c4d4261d-557c-4179-a24e-cdd7a98fb2b8
White, Paul
2dd2477b-5aa9-42e2-9d19-0806d994eaba
Bahaj, Abubakr
a64074cc-2b6e-43df-adac-a8437e7f1b37

Alvares-Sanches, Tatiana, Osborne, Patrick, White, Paul and Bahaj, Abubakr (2019) Spatial variation in sound frequency components across an urban area derived from mobile surveys. Future Cities and Environment, 5 (1), 1-17. (doi:10.5334/fce.54).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Continuous exposure to noise can lead to premature hearing loss, reduced cognitive performance, insomnia, stress, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Road noise affects the health of >125 million people in the European Union and Member States are required to map major noise hotspots. These strategic noise maps are usually derived from traffic counts and propagation models because large-scale measurement of the acoustic environment using conventional methods is infeasible. In this study, the authors surveyed the entire city of Southampton, UK using a mobile survey technique, capturing spatial variations in street-level sound characteristics across multiple frequencies from all sound sources. Over 52,000 calibrated and georeferenced sound clips covering 11 Hz to 22.7 kHz are analysed here to investigate variations in sound frequency composition across urban space and then applied to two issues: the definition of naturalness in the acoustic environment; and perceptions of social inequity in sound exposure. Clusters of acoustic characteristics were identified and mapped using spectral clustering and principal components analysis based on octave bands, ecoacoustic indices and dBA. We found independent patterns in low, mid and high frequencies, and the ecoacoustic indices that related to land use. Ecoacoustic indices partially mapped onto greenspace, identifying naturalness, but not uniquely, probably because urban anthropogenic sounds occur at higher frequencies than in the natural areas where such indices were developed. There was some evidence of inequity in sound exposure according to social deprivation and ethnicity, and results differed according to frequency bands. The consequences of these findings and the benefits of city-wide sound surveys for urban planning are discussed.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 29 January 2019
Published date: 11 February 2019
Keywords: Noise Pollution;, Soundscapes;, Urban Form; , Spatial Analysis; , Naturalness; , Social Equity; , Ecosystem Services

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 428332
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/428332
ISSN: 2363-9075
PURE UUID: 5c5f9c6d-6ee7-4040-a3cb-79361bed0f8f
ORCID for Paul White: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4787-8713
ORCID for Abubakr Bahaj: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0043-6045

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 21 Feb 2019 17:30
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 01:57

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