Cities quieter thanks to 30km/h speed limit

International Noise Awareness Day 2016: Three out of four in Germany feel disturbed by noise

Erklärfilm: Lärm - Ursachen und Folgen

Erklärfilm: Lärm - Ursachen und Folgen

Ob Straßenverkehr, Nachbarn oder Luftverkehr: Drei von vier Menschen in Deutschland fühlen sich durch Lärm gestört oder belästigt. Wo überall Lärm entsteht, welche Folgen Lärm hat und wie wir ihn verringern können, erklärt unser Film.

Road traffic, neighbours or aircraft are a few reasons why three out of four people in Germany feel disturbed or annoyed by noise. One major problem is the heavy traffic on urban roads. The sound level could be significantly reduced by introducing more extensive zones with a 30km/h speed limit. Driving more slowly is also quieter: The noise level of a car driving 30 km/h is two to three decibels quieter than driving 50 km/h. A 30 km/h speed limit is not only quieter but also safer.

Imposing a speed limit of 30 km/h is reasonable in both residential areas as well as on major urban arteries. It reduces noise exposure and increases the quality of life in cities. Further measures to combat noise include quieter cars and buses – equipped with low-noise tyres – or quieter roads covered with modern low-noise asphalt.

Stricter noise limits are also needed: for cars, aircraft and railway rolling stock as well as consumer goods (i.e. lawn mowers). This would reduce noise directly at its source, which is more effective than physical measures such as the installation of noise protection walls or soundproof windows. Of course, each individual person can also help by making less noise – switching from driving a car to cycling or walking, for example.

Traffic is a major source of noise. Noise causes illness and deteriorates quality of life. Cardiovascular diseases and psychological problems including depression can result from long-term exposure to noise. Excessive noise can impair speech development and mental performance in children. Noise is also costly: the European Commission estimates that traffic noise in the EU generates costs of around 40 billion euros per year, 90% of which is due to road traffic noise, related healthcare costs and the depreciation of real estate.

On the occasion of this year’s Noise Awareness Day under the slogan "Quietly! – This way", a German Environment Agency video clip explains the causes and effects of noise, which measures can help to combat noise, and what the individual can do about noise.

Umweltbundesamt Headquarters

Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau

Printer-friendly version
 noise  road traffic noise  30-kmh speed limit  speed limit  International Noise Awareness Day