Les cartes de bruit en France

The noise maps in France

In a constantly bustling urban world, noise is an inevitable reality that can have negative effects on health. To combat this menace, French authorities have implemented a noise mapping system to monitor and assess sound pollution in cities and urban areas, ensuring healthy environments.

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What is a noise map?
Noise maps in France: a tool for strategic diagnosis.
Modeling for the generation of noise maps
The Meersens expertise

What is a noise map?

Excessive noise can have a major impact on the quality of life for citizens, with consequences for physical and mental health. The World Health Organization (WHO) now asserts that the health effects of noise exposure constitute a significant public health issue: annoyance, hearing deficits, sleep disturbance, cardiovascular and psychological effects, impact on the quality of work or academic learning…

This is why French authorities have implemented strict guidelines to monitor and regulate sound levels, typically in urban areas, along transportation infrastructure, or near industrial zones. These guidelines aim to assist in land use planning and design noise reduction policies to protect public health and improve the quality of life for populations exposed to excessive noise nuisances.

A noise map is a tool that visualizes noise levels in a given area. Noise levels are first assessed using sound meters or modeling, and then extrapolated to create a visualization of noise levels. It can cover various types of noise such as road, rail, air, or industrial noise.

  • Strategic Noise Map (CBS) :

    Developed to assess noise levels in densely populated areas, along major transportation routes (roads, railways, airports), and around large infrastructures. It provides an overview of noise over large geographical areas and is used to identify the main sources of noise and areas potentially exposed to high sound levels.

  • Exposure Noise Map (CBE) :

    Specifically developed to assess noise levels around major transport infrastructures such as highways, significant railways, and airports. It aims to evaluate noise exposure for specific areas near these infrastructures.

  • Environmental Noise Prevention Plan (PPBE) :

    Developed based on data from strategic and exposure noise maps. This plan defines strategies to reduce noise levels in areas where these levels exceed established thresholds. A PPBE includes concrete measures and actions to be implemented to reduce the impacts of noise, such as acoustic insulation of buildings, the installation of noise barriers along roads, or other mitigation measures.

Noise maps in France: a tool for strategic diagnosis.

The Regulatory Context

Since 2002, in France, noise maps have been mandated in accordance with the European directive on the assessment and management of environmental noise (Directive 2002/49/EC) to assess and manage noise.

What are noise maps used for?

Noise maps: the benefits

For whom are noise maps created?

Strategic noise maps are produced every five years to assess the impact of sound emissions from major transport infrastructures and other noise sources. The main infrastructures concerned include:

👉 Roads: to assess sound levels generated by road traffic. This may include highways, main roads, and urban roads with traffic exceeding 3 million vehicles per year;

👉 Railways: areas near railways with more than 30,000 train passages per year;

👉Major airports: those with over 50,000 aircraft movements per year (as of January 8, 2024, 10 airports are concerned: Basel-Mulhouse, Bordeaux-Mérignac, Lyon-Saint-Exupéry, Marseille-Provence, Nantes-Atlantique, Nice-Côte d’Azur, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Le Bourget, Paris-Orly, and Toulouse-Blagnac);

👉 Urban areas: with a population exceeding 100,000 inhabitants.

Modeling for the generation of noise maps

The modeling of noise aims to estimate noise levels generated by a source more extensively than direct measurements allow for in a given area. It relies on the use of computerized calculation tools to describe and consider key parameters influencing the emission and propagation of noise in the environment (road, rail, air, or industrial traffic).

To create noise maps specific to each source, numerous data must be collected, including information on traffic, topography, building locations, soil type, and the presence of potential acoustic protections…

Noise maps result from acoustic modeling that allows for a precise diagnosis of sound levels in geographic areas while assessing their impact on the population based on time periods. The perception of noise varies throughout the day, with three represented periods:

  • Ld (pour Level day) corresponds to the average noise level during the 6am to 6pm period.
  • Le (pour Level evening) corresponds to the average noise level during the 6pm to 10pm period.
  • Ln (pour Level night) corresponds to the average noise level during the 10pm to 6am period.

💡 Good to know: Two regulatory indicators, defined at the European level, must be used at a minimum to produce noise maps. They are derived from or related to these indicators on a per-period basis. These are Lden (Level Day Evening Night – corresponding to the average noise level over a 24-hour period, with penalties for evening and night) and Ln (Level Night). These indicators are expressed in dB(A) – A-weighted decibels – which is the unit used to evaluate the sound level perceived by the human ear.

Meersens noise maps

Example of a noise map modeled by Meersens.

Our expertise at the service of your compliance.

At Meersens, we understand the crucial importance of adhering to the noise regulation limits. We provide customized solutions to help you map, analyze, and reduce noise levels in your environment. Contact us today and ensure compliance with noise mapping standards in France.

Optimize your compliance with noise assessment regulations starting today!

Noise maps in France

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