Series on Noise Research in the European Union

By Gijsjan van Blokland, Vice President, Development & Outreach, I-INCE,
and Eoin A King, NNI Editor

Noise has become a growing concern across the European Union, chiefly because of the clear links between noise exposure and health. The World Health Organization has reported that about one million years of healthy life are lost each year due to transportation noise in Europe, while excessive noise in the workplace causes hearing loss and tinnitus.

A second concern refers to the functioning of the internal market. Smooth trade between EU members requires that product specifications are harmonized. For cars, lorries, and motorcycles, the type approval includes a maximum for the noise emission. Such is also the case for different types of machinery.

A third concern is related to international transport between EU members. In order to allow smooth access of trains within different territory, the technical specifications for rail vehicles (mainly freight and high speed trains) crossing borders are harmonized through a series of Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs). These TSIs include noise emission.

These concerns not are only expressed in regulatory activities but also are addressed by a series of subsidised research projects within the research program Horizon 2020.

The European Union organizes and finances one of the world largest research and innovation programs through Horizon 2020. Over the period 2014–2020, funding of nearly €80 billion was made available, of which about €6.3 billion was reserved for smart, green, and integrated transport. Although the larger part of this budget was dedicated to other environmental topics, there are still a number of projects that focus on noise.

NNI plans to give the floor to these projects. Since many of them are not yet finished, mainly expectations and intermediate results will be presented, but altogether, this series will give you an idea of what is cooking in the EU27 at the moment. We open the series with a presentation of the project NEMO, which stands for Noise and Emission Monitoring. Hope you enjoy it!