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Noise Barrier Acceptance Criteria: Analysis

FHWA-HEP-16-017

September 2013, amended November 2015

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Foreword

The purpose of this report is to examine the feasibility and reasonableness factors in the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) noise regulation in 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 772 as implemented in the individual state highway agency (SHA) noise policies individually and in combination with each other to identify optimized combinations of values. The report specifically addresses the requirements of Tasks 3.1 through 3.5 of the FHWA Task Order No. DTFH61-D-00028-T12-002, 23 CFR 772 Streamlining, Analysis, and Outreach and Task 3 of the FHWA Task Order No. DTFH61-D-00028-0005, 23 CFR 772 Streamlining, Analysis, and Outreach, Phase II.

Content Summary

This report is comprised of the following four chapters:

Interested Audience

The initial report, completed in September 2013, did not contain the information on the Viewpoints reasonableness criterion. That report was prepared for and reviewed by FHWA and the project's Technical Working Group (TWG), first as a draft report and then as an interim report. It addressed comments received from FHWA and the TWG during the review process. This updated version of the report includes the information on the Viewpoints reasonableness criterion. The intended audience includes analysts and policy-makers within FHWA and SHAs who specialize in highway traffic noise and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementation policies, processes and procedures.

Previous Printings

This is the second printing of this report, and includes a new Chapter 4.

Publication Status

The initial report was the first of two Final Task 3 Deliverable Documents under Task Order No. DTFH61-D-00028-T12-002. This revised report is one of two Final Task 3 Deliverable Documents under Task Order No. DTFH61-D-00028-0005.

Notice

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document. The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

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1. Report No.

FHWA-HEP-16-017

2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient's Catalog No.

4. Title and Subtitle

Noise Barrier Acceptance Criteria: Analysis

5. Report Date : September 2013, amended August 2015

6. Performing Organization Code:

7. Author(s): William Bowlby, PhD, PE, Geoffrey Pratt, PE, and Rennie L. Williamson, Bowlby & Associates, Inc.; Harvey Knauer, PE, Environmental Acoustics, and Kenneth Kaliski, PE, RSG Inc.

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

RSG Inc., White River Junction VT

Bowlby & Associates, Inc., Franklin TN

Environmental Acoustics, Lemoyne PA

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.

DTFH61-11-D-00028-T12-002 and DTFH61-11-D-00028-0005

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

U.S. Department of Transportation

Federal Highway Administration

Office of Planning, Environment and Realty

Washington, DC 20590

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Guidelines

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

HEPN

15. Supplementary Notes

16. Abstract:

This report examines the feasibility and reasonableness factors in the FHWA noise regulation (23 CFR 772) as implemented in the individual state highway agency noise policies. The first part of the report studies these factors:

  • Feasibility: noise reduction and quantity of impacted receptors achieving that reduction
  • Reasonableness: benefited noise reduction; noise reduction design goal and quantity of benefited receptors achieving that goal; cost effectiveness (allowable cost or barrier area per benefited receptor)

The analysis examines how changes in the permissible ranges for each factor - while the others factors remain static - affect noise abatement decisions. Also examined is how changes to multiple factors in combination affect decisions. The range in potential decisions based on the combinations permitted under the regulation is examined to provide an aid for future policy guidance and planning. A sensitivity analysis on the factors identifies outcomes of possible combinations of factors. Actual highway projects are also used to identify the effects on the likelihood of abatement. The last part of this report analyzes how state highway agencies address the consideration of viewpoints reasonableness criterion in 23 CFR 772. Reported under separate cover is the development of tools to evaluate the effects of policy changes on abatement feasibility and reasonableness.

17. Key Words: FHWA noise regulation, 23 CFR 772, noise barrier, noise abatement, feasibility, reasonableness, noise reduction design goal, cost effectiveness, viewpoints

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classification (of this report)

Unclassified

20. Security Classification (of this page)

Unclassified

21. No of Pages

*******

22. Price

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List Of Abbreviations And Acronyms

% 1R, %1

Percentage of first row (impacted or benefited) receptors (see P1)

% ALL, %A

Percentage of all (impacted or benefited) receptors (see PA)

%

Percentage

#

Number (integer)

# 1R

Number of first row

# All

Number of all (impacted or benefited) receptors

$

Cost (in dollars)

1R

First row

ADOT

Arizona Department of Transportation

AHTD

Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department

APBR

Area per benefited receptor

APBR calc

Calculated APBR

Ben, BR

Benefited receptor

Caltrans

California Department of Transportation

CE

Cost effectiveness

CFR

Code of Federal Regulations

CPBR

Cost per benefited receptor

Crit

Criterion

dB

Decibel

dB(A), dBA

Decibel unit for A weighted sound level

DelDOT

Delaware Department of Transportation

DHV

Design hour volume

DOT

Department of Transportation

DOTD

Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

FDOT

Florida Department of Transportation

Feas

Feasibility

FHWA

Federal Highway Administration

FHWA TNM

FHWA Traffic Noise Model Version 2.5

IDOT

Illinois Department of Transportation

Leq, Leq(h)

Equivalent sound level in dB(A), one hour Leq

MassDOT

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

MaxSF/BR

Maximum amount (square footage) per benefited receptor

MDSHA

Maryland State Highway Administration

MDOT

Michigan Department of Transportation

Mn/DOT

Minnesota Department of Transportation

NAC

Noise Abatement Criteria

NCDOT

North Carolina Department of Transportation

NDOR

Nebraska Department of Roads

NEPA

National Environmental Policy Act

NR

Noise reduction

NRDG

Noise reduction design goal

NYSDOT

New York State Department of Transportation

PennDOT

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

P1

Percentage of first row (impacted or benefited) receptors (see % 1R)

PA

Percentage of all (impacted or benefited) receptors (see % ALL)

Reas

Reasonable by…

RFP

Request for Proposal

SHA

State highway agency

SF

Square foot (feet)

TDOT

Tennessee Department of Transportation

TEPM

Tennessee Environmental Procedures Manual

TNM

FHWA Traffic Noise Model Version 2.5

TWG

Technical Working Group

VDOT

Virginia Department of Transportation

WSDOT

Washington State Department of Transportation

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Updated: 3/16/2016
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