Aircraft noise annoyance

The noise simulator of the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) received the Golden Decibel Award last week. The simulator won the jury prize in the category for best “company, product and/or service’. Moreover, the noise simulator came in second place in the public award category, in which members of the general public could vote.

Maxime Verhagen, CEO of Bouwend Nederland, and the Netherlands’ former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Innovation, presented the award to Roalt Aalmoes, of the environment and policy support department, during the Sound, Vibrations and Air Quality Congress held in Hoevelaken, Netherlands. The Golden Decibel Awards are an initiative of the Innonoise Foundation and the Noise Reduction Foundation (Stichting Geluidshinder), which strive to generate more publicity nationally for noise disturbance problems and their consequent solutions.

De Virtual Community Noise Simulator (VCNS) is a unique facility, where stakeholders can experience noise sources in their own trusted, virtually reconstructed (but also familiar) surroundings. Consequently, the VCNS can simulate the sounds of aircraft flying overhead in a prompt and practical manner. Other sources of noise can also be simulated, such as from wind turbines, trains, road traffic and industrial sources. In combination with background noises, the user experiences the effects of possible future changes to their surroundings.

The VCNS attends local residents’ meetings held to discuss changes in noise regulations. At such meetings, the VCNS is able to allow the local residents to experience what a higher or lower decibel level entails. In 2014, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, and the Alders-Round Table Group Lelystad, commissioned the VCNS to offer additional insights into noise disturbance levels around Lelystad Airport.

In winning this award, the NLR hopes that it generates more recognition of the importance of noise experiences. The VCNS helps to create the realistic sounds of noise experiences in projects in which noise disturbance plays a role.

Innovative and creative
The jury selected the VCNS for its “innovative and creative way of communicating for the purpose of clarifying noise disturbance experiences and for raising awareness about noise disturbance. The system offers a new (3rd) dimension to the current, standard method of noise simulations for noise disturbance projects and has broad applications for aircraft-, road-, rail- and industrial-noise.”