Linear Noise Source
Roadway noise is the most important example of a linear noise source, since it comprises about 80 percent of the environmental noise exposure for humans worldwide. In the 1960s, when computer modeling of this phenomenon was perfected, the first applications of linear source noise modeling became systematic. After passage of the National Environmental Policy Act and Noise Control Act, the demand for detailed analysis soared, and decision makers began to look to acoustical scientists for answers regarding the planning of new roadways and the design of noise mitigation. The intensity of roadway noise is governed by the following variables: traffic operations (speed, truck mix, age of vehicle fleet), roadway surface type, tire types, roadway geometrics, terrain, micrometeorology and the geometry of area structures.
Due to the complexity of the variables, a line source acoustic model must be a computer model that can analyze sound levels in the vicinity of roadways. The first meaningful models arose in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Two of the leading research teams were BBN in Boston and ESL Inc. of Sunnyvale, California. Both of these groups developed complex mathematical models to allow the study of alternate roadway designs, traffic operations and noise mitigation strategies in an arbitrary setting. Later model alterations have come into widespread use among state Departments of Transportation and city planners, but the accuracy of early models has had little change in 40 years.
Generally line source acoustic models trace sound ray bundles and calculate spreading loss along with ray bundle divergence (or convergence} from refractive phenomena. Diffraction is usually addressed by establishing secondary emitters at any points of topographic or anthropomorphic “sharpness” (such as noise barriers or building surfaces. Meteorology can be addressed in a statistical manner allowing for actual wind rose and wind speed statistics (along with thermocline data).
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