Longitudinal surveys on effects of changes in road traffic noise-annoyance, activity disturbances, and psycho-social well-being
The adverse effects of long-term exposure to a high volume of road traffic were studied in socio-acoustic surveys in 1997 and in 1999 after a substantial reduction in road traffic. The results obtained in 1997 showed a similar response pattern as in previously performed studies in the area in 1986 [Öhrström, J. Sound Vib. 122, 277-290 (1989)]. In 1999, road traffic had been reduced from 25 000 to 2400 vehicles per day, and this resulted not only in a large decrease in annoyance and activity disturbances, but also in a better general well-being. The results suggest that a reduction in both noise and other pollutants from road traffic contribute to these effects. To be able to use the outdoor environment and to have the possibility to keep windows open is essential for general well-being and daily behavior, which implies that access both to quiet indoor and outdoor sections of the residency is of importance for achievement of a healthy sound environment. More knowledge of long-term health consequences of exposure to noise and simultaneous pollutants from road traffic is needed. Studies should focus more on ``softer'' health outcomes and well-being than hitherto and preferably be performed in connection with traffic abatement measures.