Responsible concern for the environment means that an automobile manufacturer must consider the full range of its vehicles’ effects. Increasingly, this includes the topic of traffic noise. Volkswagen is facing up to this responsibility, not only by developing ever quieter vehicles, but also through extensive activities to reduce overall traffic noise. Our goal is to better understand the influence that cars have on traffic noise so as to identify which tasks will be assumed in the future by vehicle manufacturers and when – as part of a comprehensive approach – there is a need for cooperation with other participants.
We developed a so called noise level tool in collaboration with the internationally renowned firm of Lärmkontor GmbH, Hamburg. Using this tool, we will be able to compare measures to quantitatively reduce noise in a model city in terms of its effect on the noise level on the whole as well as on the number of those affected. The control variables of the noise level tool include traffic volume, the proportion of passenger cars and commercial vehicles, speed, road surface, engine noise and rolling noise. The innovative feature of the tool is that it indicates noise pollution, illustrating how much noise is “perceived” by how many of the city’s inhabitants. Looking exclusively at the sources of noise produced – that is, the emissions – would give a skewed picture of the effectiveness of noise-reduction measures. Our focus on those affected by noise is also demonstrated by the continual exchange we maintain with representatives of municipal authorities, which we intensified in 2013. For example, Volkswagen is participating in the city of Wolfsburg’s measures to reduce noise.
These activities are examples of our contribution to ensuring that future steps towards reducing noise are better coordinated and that funds can be used more selectively.