Responsible concern for the environment means that an automobile manufacturer must consider the full range of its vehicles’ effects. Increasingly, this includes the topic of noise. Volkswagen is facing up to this responsibility – not only by striving for ever lower noise emissions from individual vehicles, but also in the form of far-reaching activities in the area of overall traffic noise. The goal is to better understand the influence that cars have on traffic noise so as to identify which tasks will be assumed in the future by vehicle manufacturers and when – as part of a comprehensive approach – there is also a need for dialog with other participants.
In cooperation with the internationally prominent Lärmkontor GmbH, Hamburg, we developed a “noise level tool” that will be able to compare measures to quantitatively reduce noise in terms of its effect on the noise level on the whole as well as on the number of those affected in a model city. The main focus is on total traffic, not on individual vehicles. An innovative feature is that this “noise level tool” indicates noise pollution for the first time, meaning how much noise is “perceived” by how many of the city’s inhabitants. Previously, looking exclusively at the sources of noise produced a skewed picture of the effectiveness of noise-reduction measures. The control variables include traffic volume, the proportion of passenger cars and commercial vehicles, speed, road surface, engine noise and rolling noise.
These activities are Volkswagen’s contribution to ensuring that future measures for reducing noise are better coordinated and that funds can be used more selectively.