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27/08/2018

Traffic noise map of the centre of Odorheiu Secuiesc

Student: Zsófia Simó, BSc, 3rd year

Scientific advisor: Tamás Néda, PhD, assistant professor

One of the prominent characteristics of our modern world is the intensification of the migration from the rural to urban environment seeking for a comfortable lifestyle and a better economical status. The intensively developing cities are facing daily problems caused by the road traffic, which is leading not just to increased air pollution, but to increased noise pollution.  Thus, today the environmental pollution includes noise pollution, as well. The consequences of the exposure to this kind of pollution rear their heads after a long period, and they manifest in the form of different health problems such as hearing impairment, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, nervous system disorders, furthermore, some recent studies showed that the noise could be harmful to the healthy development of the fetus. The European Commission emitted the 2002/49/EC Directive relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise which was implemented in Romania, too.  A noise map is a graphic representation of the sound level distribution existing in a given region, for a defined period. In order to identify the critical areas a noise map can be worked out according to the instructions found in the 2002/49/EC Directive.

The aim of our study was the elaboration of the traffic noise map of the centre of Odorheiu Secuiesc, which is a city in Harghita County with around 34000 inhabitants. The European Regulation call for the elaboration of the noise map only for the major cities with inhabitants greater than 100000, Odorheiu Secuiesc is not bound to this regulation. Therefore we considered important to assess, maybe for the first time, the noise typical for the centre of this city, which issues from the road traffic. According to the Romanian legislation, the maximum admissible average noise level is 65 dB for daytime, and 50 dB for the night. Experience shows that the road traffic is the heaviest in the centre of Odorheiu Secuiesc. That is why we chose this part of the city as the study area. This area included several schools, kindergartens, official and residential buildings, hotels and a hospital. We collected the traffic data by field measurements, which consisted in the counting of the vehicles at given sites. The measurements were carried out in different parts of the day; one measurement lasted for 15 minutes. The data were extrapolated to 60 minutes. The parts of the day were as follows:  between 7:00–19:00 was the daytime, between 19:00–23:00 was the evening time and between 23:00–7:00 was the night-time. The data collecting procedure was carried out repeatedly in three different days, and then we calculated the average values. We used the IMMI software for the elaboration of the noise map.

According to the resulting noise map we can say that in the main streets with heavy traffic the noise level overpassed the legal limits both in daytime and night-time. We registered the highest levels in the Piaţa Városháza Square and Bethlen Gábor Street. In this part of the city there are two schools, one nursery-school, one clinic, and a hospital. This situation claims the action of the competent institutions of the city. We can also state that the parks and the cemetery found in this area can be considered still places.

We think, that the most efficient noise reduction in this part of the city should be the exclusion of the traffic from the Piaţa Városháza Square. We also recommend a detour following the route: Târgului-Kornis Ferenc-Uzinei-Tompa László streets. The reduction of the speed from the 50 km/h to 30 km/h wouldn’t solve the problem.

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