Madrid, pioneering a city-wide noise monitoring network

Madrid, the capital and largest city in Spain, has more than 3 million inhabitants in a highly urbanised area. As such, it is the central point of infrastructure for the country’s main highways, railways and airports.

City of MadridWith such high density in a small space, it’s only 604km2, the city has identified that air pollution including noise has become a growing concern. In order to reduce the noise pollution, Madrid City Council has implemented a pioneering city-wide noise monitoring network to help them in their fight against it. However, this is not new – the city has been working with EMS Bruel & Kjaer for over 15 years to help combat this problem.

Named the Acoustic Pollution Monitoring Network (APMN), Madrid City Council has implemented one of the most complete and advanced noise monitoring systems in the world. Their APNM consists of 31 permanent stations, as well 16 mobile units and 5 instrumented vehicles that travel throughout the city.

Since 1994, the city has been installing instrumentation to determine the temporal evolution or changes over time of environmental noise levels within the vicinity of each station with data captured in real-time and published on the municipal website daily. The mobile network of terminals has helped them to work with the community where noise changes have been identified and supports their Strategic Noise Mapping, which helps them predict noise sources and exposure in the future.

The SADMAMs or small vehicles with acoustic instrumentation attached, can provide measurements at any point in the city as well GPS to geo-reference the city, meaning they have a more complete and richer data set to analyse and conduct their strategic noise mapping.

In addition to publishing data from the permanent network of stations to their public website, Madrid City Council also include the historical data from the early monitors since 1998 for public reference. From early on, they realised that community engagement and trust would be a valuable consideration for their network and a way to engage the citizens to help combat environmental noise.

Why is this important and what can other cities learn from this? According to the World Economic Forum, 68% of the global population will live in cities by 2050. This increase in dwellings and movement will generate safety, health, access and mobility challenges for those cities. The flow on effect of this will be noise and the impact of that on the current but also future communities.

By taking a proactive step in measuring noise, the City of Madrid can plan for the growth of their city better, while ensuring the needs of their growing population are taken into account to make it a thriving and sustainable city.

Want to learn more about this case study? Download our recent conference paper, Managing the Noise Network of Madrid City Council, to find out more.

Author: Ann Cooper, Marketing Director at EMS Brüel & Kjær

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