TABLE 1-5-5 - Population Affected by High Decibel Noise at Airports: 1998-2007

TABLE 1-5-5 - Population Affected by High Decibel Noise at Airports: 1998-2007

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Within 65 dB DNL noise-level contours

  Exposure U.S. resident population (millions)
People affected (thousands) Percent of U.S. resident population
1998 1,100 0.40 276
1999 680 0.24 279
2000 874 0.31 282
2001 867 0.30 285
2002 570 0.20 288
2003 505 0.17 290
2004 491 0.17 293
2005 498 0.17 296
2006 481 0.16 299
2007 468 0.16 302

KEY: dB = decible, DNL = Day-Night Level-the average noise level over a 24-hour period.

NOTES: Noise-level contours are graphical representations of noise levels on a map, similar to elevation contours on a topographic map. Noise-level contours are lines that join points of equal sound levels. Areas between given noise-level contour lines would have a noise level between the two contour values. The U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration has identified DNL 65 dB as the highest threshold of airport noise exposure that is normally compatible with indoor and outdoor activity associated with a variety of land uses, including residential, recreational, schools, and hospitals. Estimates are for areas surrounding airport property of 250 of the largest civil airports with jet operations in the United States. They exclude exposure to aircraft noise within an airport boundary.

Noise exposure people data for 2000 and forward was re-estimated using an enhanced version of U.S. MAGENTA (Model for Assessing the Global Exposure of Noise because of Transport Airplanes). The enhanced version of the model uses radar-based traffic data to account for unscheduled U.S. operations including freight, General Aviation, and military operations. MAGENTA also includes improvements to the acoustical model to account for differences in the sound attenuation characteristics between wing-mounted and tail-mounted aircraft engines. These enhancements result in computed population noise exposure estimates that are more accurate and larger than previous versions of the model. Therefore, it is important to note that the "growth" in the number of people exposed from 1999 to 2000 resulted from improvements in measurement, not deterioration in aviation noise trends.

SOURCES: Exposure: Federal Aviation Administration; Population: U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau as cited in U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics, table 4-53, available at as of October 2009.