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Analysis: Modeling Noise Pollution in the City of Madrid (Spain)

29 noviembre, 2013 3 comentarios

You can now access our analysis about “Modeling Noise Pollution in the City of Madrid (Spain)“. This study was carried out in the context of the Ciudad2020 project as part of our work about pollution predictive modeling in the city of the future, an essential component for the integrated environmental information management system. This document contains the complete study of the second scenario summarized in our whitepaper on the techniques of pollution predictive modeling in the sustainable city [only in Spanish].

Madrid is a noisy city. While the noise is not considered a pollutant as obvious as air pollution by ozone and particles, health risk due to noise in the medium term is far superior to the risk given by the other type of pollution. EU requires Member States to set zonal quality objectives as far as noise is concerned. In Spain limit values are 65 dB during the day and 55 dB at night, although the WHO recommends more stringent values.

Despite the existence of action plans against noise (which can be consulted on the website of the Spanish Acoustic Pollution Information System, SICA), the situation needs to improve further. It is necessary to implement more measures on mobility and work on the control of night-time leisure. In summer 2010, the excessive noise of bars in some streets of Madrid, where overnight it can exceed the allowable levels up to 20 dB, even compelled Madrid’s City Council to close bars an hour earlier. That area of Madrid was declared a Special Acoustic Protection Zone, where they apply a program of specific measures to reduce noise. In addition, in a large city like Madrid, not only residents and their leisure habits are noisy, but also permanent works or heavy traffic emit noise pollution: problems undoubtedly difficult to solve.

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In Madrid’s 2006 noise maps issued by the city’s Environment and Mobility Office, it was noted that a significant percentage of the population is exposed to values higher than the quality objectives set out in the regulations: approximately, during the day a 5.7% of the population was exposed to higher than 65 decibel noise, while in the evening this percentage amounted to the 20.2% of people exposed to more than 55 decibels. Madrid’s 2011 strategic map of noise recently posted reflects advances: from 5.6% to 4.1% of the population exposed during the day and from 20.2% to 14.9% at night, although there is still much work ahead (more information).

In our study we present a real and full analysis of noise pollution in the city of Madrid, using historical data from 2012 provided by the Department of Acoustic Control, headed by Madrid’s Environment and Mobility Office. The provided dataset consists of periodic measures, from 1/January/2012 to 31/December/2012, gathered by the 28 automatic measuring stations of the Air Quality Surveillance Network of Madrid’s City Council.

An extensive analysis shows how values evolve over time depending on the areas, and proposes prediction models using data mining techniques and the methodology proposed for pollution modeling in Ciudad2020. With these models it is possible to obtain a short-term prediction (24 hours) with which you could tell when the noise exceeds the limits established by law, and propose measures to mitigate the effects that these situations can have on citizens (headaches, dizziness, anxiety and fatigue, nervousness, stress…).

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Although the analysis focuses only on this city and the results are applicable exclusively to it, the most remarkable aspect is that the study thoroughly illustrates the steps to follow in general for pollution modeling in any location. You can access the complete study, more information and demos on our website: http://www.daedalus.es/ciudad2020/. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us, we will be happy to assist you.

[Translation by Luca de Filippis]

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