Traffic noise in Helsinki
About one-third of the Helsinki land area is high-noise exposure area. Nearly 40 percent of Helsinki residents live in areas where traffic noise exceeds the recommended highest daytime value of 55 dB. Road and street traffic is by far the greatest source of noise. Many residents of the inner city are also exposed to noise from trams.
Land use planning in key role in noise control
Land use planning can be used effectively to prevent and remove noise hazards. The current objective in land use to increase density in urban areas especially on good rail transport routes is demanding from the perspective of noise control. Noise is controlled at the source, that is, noise is controlled, for example, by improvements in vehicles as well as by reductions in traffic volumes and speeds.
Noise can be contained by land formations, the placement of operations and various noise barriers. Noise control also involves protection of noise-sensitive sites and activities, for example, by the placement of buildings, dwelling floor solutions and sound insulation.
Noise has adverse effects
Noise weakens the comfort and quality of living especially in housing and recreational areas. Traffic noise affects people’s health and wellbeing. Noise can cause general disturbance and sleep disorders, and noise can interfere with rest, concentration and learning.
Pay attention to noise
When choosing a place to live, one should consider the local sound environment. By checking the map, listening and asking questions about noise, one can avoid big surprises.
Growth in traffic volumes poses a challenge for noise control. Everyone can impact noise levels by their transport choices – by moving by foot, bicycle or public transport instead of a car. Driving habits have a marked effect on noise from cars.
The distribution of traffic noise to the environment has been estimated in Helsinki.
Road traffic the most significant source of noise in Helsinki.
Ten per cent of the citizens of Helsinki are exposed to noise from rail traffic.
The estimated number of people living in the aircraft noise area is 12,000–14,000.