Until relatively recently noise pollution as one of the biggest environmental problems of our society was not taken seriously. The reality today is a natural migration trend from rural areas to cities which are experiencing an exponential growth in people, activity, vehicle traffic, congestion and, therefore, pollution in various forms. If we consider that by 2050 it is forecast that 70% of the global population will live in urban areas, ensuring both a sustainable economic and social environment represents a huge challenge.
Noise Monitoring in the City of Girona
One of the main concerns of citizens of Girona was noise pollution in some areas of the city due to directly affecting their quality of life. The main source of noise in the city was traffic which became an environmental background noise. This situation led to complaints and the general discomfort of citizens. The Girona City Council decided to tackle this problem by implementing the “Environmental monitoring programme”, included in the local government's global “Smart Green” project.
Five strategic measuring points were chosen for installing suitable noise sensors to measure any source of noise pollution and were integrated aesthetically on existing street lamps. This technology is used to measure pollution levels in these areas in real time. The data captured by the sensors translates into useful and understandable information shown in the “Visoracústic” application through which anyone can check noise levels at any time. The application can be used to display the real-time evolution of noise indicators, percentiles and optional indices as well as to obtain reports generated with different periodicities (daily, weekly, monthly or yearly), and in different formats.
The City Council is in the process of preparing an action plan to improve and recover the sound quality of Girona. The plan is based on the results obtained from sensors and noise map studies carried out. It establishes actions to preserve those places that enjoy good sound quality and others to improve the situation in areas with high levels of noise pollution.
Noise Pollution and Parking
The urban population is set to continue to grow exponentially in the coming decades. Without the introduction of additional technologies, cities will not be able to cope with the expected increase in traffic that this growth will surely generate. Among the main observed causes of congestion, the search for a vacant parking space represents on average almost 30% of traffic in congested city centers, and takes up an additional 9 to 14 minutes of motorists’ time.
This represents a huge waste of time and energy and also results in a considerable level of pollution, stress and discomfort, not only for motorists but also for pedestrians and residents. Given the importance of this issue, mobility management is continually improved through the development of “ITS” (Intelligent Transport System) technologies.
While the direct links between smart parking solutions and noise reduction are not yet known, limiting the time a car searches for parking will inevitable lower noise and air pollution levels throughout cities. Noise monitor networks not only make noise levels measurable, but they also help point out where and when noise pollution is at its highest. With this information, city officials can implement mobility and parking solutions that can best help the city enhance the quality of life of their citizens while optimizing mobility for visitors.
Urbiotica is a Barcelona-based company specialised in the design and development of latest generation sensing systems which provide real-time information on what is happening in areas of mobility, waste management and environmental monitoring. It currently has projects installed in more than 30 cities.
Tania Josa. Communication Manager
93 169 18 65
For more information: urbiotica.com