Report numberRA-MOW-2011-037
TitleSpatial planning, traffic, noise annoyance and the impact on livability
SubtitleApplication of a model for the assessment of traffic livability in a number of case studies
AuthorsLuc Dekoninck
Dominique Gillis
Dick Botteldooren
Dirk Lauwers
Published byPolicy Research Centre for Mobility and Public Works, track Traffic Safety 2007-2011
Number of pages46
Document languageDutch
Partner(s)Universiteit Gent
Work packageOther: Sustainable transportation

In previous phases of the project, a methodology and a modeling tool were developed for the assessment of the impact of traffic on the livability of the surrounding functions. This model was applied to the case of the city center of Ghent (Belgium).


In this report this model is used for the further analysis of some casestudies concerning some typical problem situations in the field of traffic noise and traffic livability.


Prior to these case studies, some limitations of the current model are discussed. The availability and quality of a number of input data are a first issue, making some parts of the model insufficiently detailed or reliable. A second issue is the level of detail or the quality of some (external) exposure models. Specifically the static character of some data makes it impossible to recalculate the data corresponding to the specific scenario evaluation. As a consequence some effects can’t be incorporated in the model to their full extent. Finally the applied annoyance curves are typically derived for the higher exposure levels, in order to detect problem areas. There is little research about the applicability of the curves for lower exposure levels. This may mean that some impacts are underestimated in the model (the perception of changing from low to very low levels may be larger than is shown in these curves).


In two case studies the model is applied to some typical problem situations:


  • The impact of internal traffic organization within a quarter: in the scenarios the strongest effect hails from a changing traffic behavior, aiming at shorter trip distances and reduced use of the car. This is explained by a double effect: on one hand the total amount of car traffic (and its related impacts) is reduced, and on the other hand people’s exposure to this traffic is reduced.
  • The impact of buildings along a road with busy traffic: these building are a typical source of annoyance for its inhabitants, but at the same time offer a shielding effect towards the houses which are situated behind them. From the model evaluation two effects can be distinguished. Indeed the houses along the road have a positive shielding effect, but on the other hand the inhabitants of the houses are exposed to very high levels of annoyance. In the case-study the positive effect compensates for the second effect. Especially if the negative effect can be mitigated by giving these houses an adapted function (less sensitive functions) or an adapted architecture, the application of building as a shield towards living areas offers perspectives.
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The Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety carries out policy relevant scientific research under the authority of the Flemish Government. The Centre is the result of a

cooperation between Hasselt University, KU Leuven and VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research.


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