ENVIRONMENTAL CRITERIA FOR ROAD TRAFFIC (AUSTRALIA)
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. ENVIRONMENTAL CRITERIA FOR ROAD TRAFFIC. CHATSWOOD: Environment Protection Authority, 1999.
Our road system provides extensive benefits in terms of the economic and social wellbeing of the community. However, we need to reach a balance between providing efficient road transport infrastructure and controlling the adverse affects of road use. The Government’s Action for Air Policy and the Integrated Transport Plan for NSW set in place overall strategies for reducing the use of motor vehicles, in the interests of avoiding their environmental effects.
This policy also needs to be understood in the context of the Government’s metropolitan strategic objectives. The Metropolitan Strategy provides the broad framework for urban management in the Greater Metropolitan Region. A core goal of the Metropolitan Strategy is to establish a compact, efficient and accessible city. Encouraging higher density residential development and employment close to public transport and centres will be vital to achieving this goal.
We must integrate land use and transport planning to increase accessibility and public transport use and reduce private vehicle use; we need responsible noise management to make this task easier. Motor vehicle ownership in NSW has increasedsubstantially over the last 30 years, from 260 vehicles per 1000 people in 1960 to 558 vehicles per 1000 people in 1991. General levels of road traffic noise throughout NSW have increased significantly through this period. There are currently four million vehicles registered in NSW, and 86% of all freight is moved by road.
A study conducted in 1986 (Hede et al. 1986) indicates the extent of road traffic noise impacts throughout Australia. The study involved interviews with a large random sample of the Australian population. Twenty-one per cent of Australians described themselves as being personally affected by noise pollution—more than for water, air or waste pollution. Of the sources of environmental noise, the most important was road traffic noise, with 17% of the population describing it as the noise they would most like to get rid of. The survey found that 6% of Australians were highly annoyed, and 21% moderately annoyed, by traffic noise, with 13% claiming disturbance to listening
Activities, and 12% claiming disturbance to sleep.
This research shows that we need programs to complement strategies that are geared towards reducing motor vehicle use with more effective ways of managing existing levels of traffic noise, through influencing the nature of road design, road use and development adjacent to roads. The
Environmental Criteria for Road Traffic Noise are a response to this need.
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