Noise impact on humans and biodiversity

Knowledge of environmental noise sources and of the acoustic propagation mechanisms in complex environments contributes in fine to assess the noise impact on the environment, humans and biodiversity.

  

Tools for acoustic prediction

In order to address increasing concerns, the challenge of assessing the nuisance impact on humans requires the development of a new generation of tools for the prediction of environmental noise.

The objective is to offer solutions which go far beyond current conventional tools, providing innovative features making the assessment of various trip management or scenarios easier, regarding their impact on sound environment. This includes the consideration of acoustic indicators for characterising sound environment.

Thus, at a city or neighbourhood level, the integration of GIS tools in noise prediction methods opens new possibilities for the calculation and representation of noise exposure. At a smaller scale (street, building) the development of sound environment simulation tools, involving advanced propagation models (TLM for example) leads to a better assessment of the environment perceived by the population.

Finally, coupling the indoor and outdoor prediction models, or even the development of a global approach, aims at offering an improved representation of sound nuisance in the environment.

New devices of data collection

Whereas most current approaches of environmental noise prediction are centered on "modelling", innovations linked with the concept of Smart Cities make the deployment of acoustical sensor networks possible. Indeed, the measures lead locally to a very acute characterisation of sound environment, sensitive to all the present sources when modelling is limited to a small number of sound sources and is therefore vitiated. However, the very local information provided by acoustical sensors requires developing a relevant infrastructure and ponder the integration of measures and modelling within the same platform.

UMRAE develops new schemes, focusing in particular on sensor and network optimisation, on the qualification of acoustic data, as well as on measured and simulated data assimilation. The ultimate aim is to propose more accurate sound environment maps, closer to the individual feeling of urban citizens.

Harmful effects on animal population

Even if the impact of noise nuisance on humans is well examined nowadays, the effects on terrestrial or aquatic wildlife is far less studied, either on a scientific or a regulatory point of view.

Thus, UMRAE strives to assess the harmful effects of anthropogenic sound sources on wildlife and to develop innovative methods of impact reduction.

This research will also deal with the development of scaring or attractive sound systems in order to avoid conflicts of use between humans and wildlife species over specific spaces (wolves and pasture, hawks and wind parks for example) or the analysis of environmental sound signals for characterising biodiversity in a setting.