This research project is designed to respond to a growing understanding that continuing reduction of noise levels related to aircraft flight operations means that previously ignored noise from aircraft ground operations, such as taxiing, now has more of an effect on nearby communities. Taxiing and idling in runway queues, especially during peak hour operations or at night, can significantly contribute to noise contours and Day-Night Average Sound Levels (DNL). This is particularly true when taxiways are very close to the airport property lines and near neighborhoods or other noise sensitive locations.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Integrated Noise Model (INM) is the agency’s required tool for environmental impact statements, environmental assessments, and Part 150 studies. Currently, INM users who need to assess the contribution of noise from aircraft ground operations must develop a workaround approach within the model or externally. Developing this new capability directly within the tool would be a natural extension of other currently planned enhancements of the Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT)/INM, such as better modeling of start of the take-off roll, and thrust reversal and it would enable the FAA and users to cover all modes of operations in the vicinity of an airport. Given that consultants are currently often asked to include predictions of aircraft noise resulting from ground operations, having a single method within AEDT/INM will ensure consistency in the implementation across various airports and studies. Also, it would pave the way for joint modeling of noise and emissions, considering that taxiway local air quality modeling is already implemented within FAA analysis tools
The purpose of this study is to help improve the ability to evaluate noise generated by aircraft ground operations, allowing airport staff, airport planners, and consultants to incorporate taxiway noise modeling in their evaluations systematically when needed. This capability will increase the accuracy of airport noise modeling, thus improving chances that significant noise impacts and incompatible land-uses are properly identified, and that appropriate mitigation strategies are addressed. The enhancement to the model will also enable joint assessment of both noise and air quality, resulting in more balanced and comprehensive decisions in airport planning. Failure to properly consider taxiway and gate noise in airport environmental assessments with quantifiable metrics, such as DNL, could lead to misinformation on the local and comprehensive effects of a proposed action. This could result in proposed airport layout improvements that inadvertently bring taxiing aircraft closer to noise sensitive receptors and create unwanted misunderstandings between communities and airports.
Status: The report has now been completed and is available as a web only document: Enhanced Modeling of Aircraft Taxiway Noise—Scoping