Changes/Additions/Reiterations to FHWA Traffic Noise Policies
1. Page 11, paragraph 1: "It is also important to remember that noise abatement consideration should be an inherent project consideration that is not handled separately, but is incorporated and considered in the total project development decision."
2. Page 16, paragraph 4: "... after the date of issuance of this guidance, Type II abatement projects for new activities and land uses which come into existence may only be approved if an active local land use control program was adopted prior to existence of the new activities and land uses. EXAMPLE: A Type II noise barrier is requested for homes that were constructed prior to a local community's adoption of an active noise- compatible land -use control program. Type II abatement may not be approved for this location. SHAS should be certain to make local officials aware of this requirement."
3. Page 18, paragraph 3: "The prevention of future impacts is one of the most important parts of noise control. The compatibility of the highway and its neighbors is essential for the continuing growth of local areas. Both development and highways can be compatible, but local government officials need to know what noise levels to expect from a highway and what techniques they can use to prevent future impacts. States can help by providing this information to local governments; such information should be made available for disclosure in real estate transactions."
4. Page 23, paragraph 2: "The project development records should fully document the traffic noise analysis level-of-effort expended, strategies considered, adjacent residents' views and opinions, and a final decision on the reasonableness and feasibility of abatement."
5. Page 27, paragraph 1: "Traffic noise analyses should recognize and consider,absolute noise levels as well as incremental increases in noise levels when identifying traffic noise impacts and when considering noise abatement measures."
6. Pages 55 and 56, paragraphs 8 and 1: "SHAs typically determine reasonable cost by using a cost index, usually with residences representing people impacted. Most SHAs use a cost/residence index, while some use a cost/residence/dBA reduction. An acceptable cost/residence index should be within the range of $15,000- 50,000/residence. Other acceptable indices, such as cost/residence/dBA reduction, should be shown to be within this range for cost/residence. The cost of reasonable abatement may fall outside the acceptable range if there is sufficient, additional justification, particularly if severe traffic noise impacts occur.
The method used to count residences is important and should be clearly delineated. The number of residences should include all dwelling units, e.g., owner-occupied, rental units, mobile homes, etc. When counting residences to determine reasonableness, all "benefited" residences should be included, regardless of whether or not they were identified as impacted (each unit in a multi-family building should be counted as one residence in determining both impacts and benefits). A State should define the threshold of noise reduction which determines a "benefited" residence. This threshold should be within the range of 3-5 dBA.
7. Page 76, paragraph 2: "The FHWA has previously left entirely to a State the determination of the "date of public knowledge." However, from now on, the "date of public knowledge" cannot precede the date of approval of CEs, FONSIs, or RODs.