Pollution associated to traffic can be considered as one of the most relevant pollution sources in our cities; noise is one of the major components of traffic pollution; thus, efforts are necessary to search adequate noise assessment methods and low pollution city designs. Different methods have been proposed for the evaluation of noise in cities, including the categorization method, which is based on the functionality concept. Until now, this method has only been studied (with encouraging results) for short-term, diurnal measurements, but nocturnal noise presents a behavior clearly different on respect to the diurnal one. In this work 45 continuous measurements of approximately one week each in duration are statistically analyzed to identify differences between the proposed categories. The results show that the five proposed categories highlight the noise stratification of the studied city in each period of the day (day, evening, and night). A comparison of the continuous measurements with previous short-term measurements indicates that the latter can be a good approximation of the former in diurnal period, reducing the resource expenditure for noise evaluation. Annoyance estimated from the measured noise levels was compared with the response of population obtained from a questionnaire with good agreement. The categorization method can yield good information about the distribution of a pollutant associated to traffic in our cities in each period of the day and, therefore, is a powerful tool for town planning and the design of pollution prevention policies.
Pollution derived from traffic can be considered one of the major problems of modern cities. Although considerable efforts have been devoted to gathering information about pollution and its control, little attention has been paid to the analysis of relationships between pollution distribution and town planning. The existence of these relationships would enable better prediction and prevention of pollution through town planning. In this work, an analysis of one pollutant derived from traffic (urban noise) in 27 cities is presented. Non-parametric tests and ROC analyses were employed, using the equivalent sound level (L(eq)) values as the dependent variable. For the characterization of the pollutant, an alternative concept to accessibility is analyzed: the concept of functionality. Results of statistical inferential analysis showed the existence of significant differences between the sound levels of the different category results, confirming that noise is stratified in the studied cities and that the five categories proposed based in the concept of functionality highlight this noise stratification. Moreover, high sensitivity and low non-specificity were obtained by using ROC analysis. Results of this analysis also showed an overall average value of prediction capacity close to 90%. Therefore, because the proposed categories highlight the noise stratification of the studied pollutant in all the towns studied, the functionality concept can be considered an interesting tool for urban planning and for designing pollution prevention policies. Finally, as traffic is a source of other urban pollutants, the concept of functionality may be a new concept for wide environmental pollution management.
A preview of the results of applying a categorization method to twenty towns with populations between 2200 and 700 000 inhabitants and areas between 0.57 km(2) and 59 km(2) is presented. This represents a significant expansion of the population size and area of urban sites studied by this method, with variations of two to three orders of magnitude, including the fourth most populous town in Spain. It is found that there is a relationship between urban noise and inhabitants, and also between urban noise and inhabited area, reflecting the urban structure defined in the strata of the categorization method.
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