Good sound environment in green areas modify road-traffic noise annoyance at home

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Anita Gidlöf-Gunnarsson
Evy Öhrström
Mikael Ögren
Tomas Jerson

There has been a growing recognition among noise researchers that natural elements and natural areas of the built environment have potentials to reduce annoyance due to traffic noise. It has been suggested that presence of vegetation (e.g., trees, bushes, grass, flowers) contributes to an aesthetically pleasing environment, which influence overall residential satisfaction and people?s perception of the noise. Other expected benefits of natural elements/areas are prevention or modification of adverse effects of work-, personal-, or environmental stress (e.g., noise) through restoration processes. Within the large TVANE-project, the present study examined the effect of green areas (park or similar at walking distance) on noise responses in residential settings (n=468) exposed to road traffic noise (LAeq,24h 45 to 65 dB). A binary multiple logistic regression analysis, with sound exposure as the prime variable assumed to predict general noise annoyance at home, indicated that presence of green areas, a closer distance to it from the subject?s home, and perceived green-area characteristics (good sound environment, high attractiveness and potentials for recreational activities) significantly lowered noise annoyance. The results suggest that the exposure-response relationship between noise and annoyance is influenced by access to nearby green areas provided that they have good environmental quality, particularly regarding the perceived sound environment

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