U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Cynthia J. Burbank
Program Manager, Planning and Environment
Federal Lands Highway Division Engineers
Date: May 6, 1999
Reply to: HENE
Last March, the FHWA released the FHWA Traffic Noise Model, Version 1.0 (FHWA TNM). To create the data base for the FHWA TNM, the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center) developed national Reference Energy Mean Emission Levels (REMELs) for 5 vehicle types, based on field measurements made at 40 sites in 9 States. During this development, State-specific REMELs were analyzed and found to be statistically equivalent to the national REMELs. Thus, there should not be a need for State departments of transportation (DOTs) to develop their own REMELs.
As stated in Measurement of Highway-Related Noise, dated May 1996, "Until the design of highway vehicles changes incrementally, or regulatory requirements warrant lower noise emission levels, development of State-specific REMELs is unnecessary." Although it is not prohibited, State DOTs are strongly discouraged from developing and using State-specific REMELs in the FHWA TNM. However, if a State DOT desires to utilize State-specific REMELs in the FHWA TNM, it must complete the following steps, in order:
STEP 1: Notify FHWA of its desire to develop State-specific REMELs;
STEP 2 Submit a detailed REMEL measurement plan to FHWA for review and approval;
STEP 3: Conduct field measurements and develop REMELs; and
STEP 4: Submit measurement data and analysis, along with the resulting REMELs, to FHWA for review and approval.
The REMELs must be developed in accordance with the procedures outlined in the report Measurement of Highway-Related Noise. The detailed REMEL measurement plan must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the procedures, including their precise application to the measurements at hand. The plan must include a complete discussion of all the items contained in the attached "Requirements for a REMEL Measurement Plan."
If you have any questions concerning the development of State-specific REMELs, you may contact Bob Armstrong or Steve Ronning at (202) 366-2073 or (202) 366-2078, respectively.
cc: Resource Center Directors