An evaluation of noise reduction strategies at large commercial airports in the United States: A policy analysis and framework classification

Tyler Spence, Purdue University


Noise pollution from aircraft, specifically in the vicinity of airports as aircraft takeoff and land, is a problem that has been shown to have negative impacts on the welfare of humans, animals, and the surrounding environment. The problem may only become worse as air travel increases for cargo and passenger operations, populations increase, and the overall number of aircraft increase. Currently, guidance has been issued from the International Civil Aviation Organization on how to combat the issue of noise pollution through policy, both at that national regulatory level, and at the local airport level. This study evaluated the local airport policy implementation schemes at 132 Class B and Class C airports in the United States. A latent class analysis was used to determine that six different airport clusters existed, each with a different set of noise pollution mitigation strategies ranging from the implementation of only noise mitigation strategies specifically approved by the FAA (e.g., noise abatement procedures), to airports that invest millions of dollars in the community for soundproofing homes and schools in addition to fines for aircraft violating specific noise threshold limits set in noise monitoring sensors around a community. In addition to the latent class analysis, this study found that several characteristics of the airport and the local surrounding community (within 10 miles) appeared to predict the potential policies that an airport might choose to implement. The region of the country in which an airport is located, and the population per square mile within ten miles of the center of the airport were significant predictors of the likelihood of an airport implementing a certain set of policies. Airports with larger population densities and located in the western portion of the United States, were more likely to belong to the cluster of airports that implemented a multitude of policy strategies than belong to the cluster of airports that sparsely implemented a few aircraft procedural policies.




Fanjoy, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Public policy|Sustainability|Transportation planning

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