Aircraft-related noise is a major concern for residents in proximity to airports. It leads not only to annoyance; there is also empirical evidence that noise affects residents both behaviorally and psychologically. Behavioral aspects include sleep disturbances, and reductions in work performance and child learning. Psychological aspects include hypertension, changes in hormone levels, and other stress-related illnesses.

Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment noise research

Aircraft-related noise also has economic impacts. For example, it can result in property devaluation in proximity to airports. House buyers anticipate how their lives are impacted by noise, which then leads to a lower willingness to pay for noise-affected property. Consequently, anticipated damages of aircraft noise are reflected by differences in values between noise-affected and non-noise affected properties. Studies indicate that an increase of aviation noise of 1 dB can lead to a house price devaluation of about 0.6%.

The Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment assesses the economic impacts of aviation-related noise. Based on house price depreciation studies, we developed an approach that estimates the relationship between personal income and the willingness to pay for noise reduction, which enables us to estimate noise-related damages around the world.

Outcomes and applications

Our noise research is used to assess the significance of aircraft-related noise in monetary terms. This is particularly important for the comparison with other environmental issues, when the impacts of policy measures are assessed. Benefits and cost of these measures, and tradeoffs with air quality and climate emissions can then be compared. Our noise model is part of the Aviation Environmental Portfolio Management Tool (APMT),  a comprehensive tool which has been developed primarily at the Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment over several years, and has been used for policy assessment studies for both the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Selected archival publications on ‘Noise’ can be found in the LAE’s Archival Publications Section.