Noise complaints are on the rise in Ireland, with a particular concern being the escalating noise pollution from traffic. Among the various sources of noise, road traffic noise has emerged as the most complained-about issue in Ireland, accounting for a staggering 17.9% of all reported noise disturbances. This growing problem has prompted a pressing need for effective solutions to address the auditory intrusion and restore tranquillity to the Irish soundscape. Below is a graph from the European Environment Agency detailing the number of people exposed to high noise levels in urban Ireland. It’s apparent that road noise is a glaring problem, massively outweighing other noise sources like rail and air.
EEA- Ireland Noise Fact Sheet 2021
The Problem: Noise Pollution and Complaints
Noise pollution has increasingly become a pressing concern for urban communities. Consistent exposure to loud noise can disrupt sleep, increase stress levels, and hinder overall well-being. With increased noise pollution comes increased noise complaints. Noise complaints have strained relationships between residents, businesses, and local authorities. Often the people behind the complaints feel as though their words have fallen on deaf ears, as high noise levels persist. It is clear that the current manual methods for noise pollution reduction are not sufficient. People are unable to handle the sheer volume of data in urban environments- Enter our Sound Analysis APIs
Noise Complaints- What is being done?
In the pursuit of quietude, the government has enacted legislation to curb noise pollution, recognising its detrimental effects on human health, property, and the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency Act of 1992 defines noise as a nuisance that endangers well-being, property, and the very fabric of the environment we inhabit. Through regulations, noise mapping, action plans and local campaigns, major leaps toward a quieter world have been achieved. For example, in 2017, the EPA designed noise maps of Dublin and Cork to evaluate and assess the level of noise exposure in our major cities. However, traditional approaches to combating noise complaints are proving inadequate. Sound analysis work is still mainly reliant on subjective human perception. Noise analysts undertaking this job can struggle to capture the intricacies of urban soundscapes, drowning in the deluge of decibels that envelop our cities.
The Solution: An API for Sound Analysis
Our Sound Analysis APIs provide a revolutionary solution to combat noise pollution and alleviate the burden of noise complaints. By harnessing the power of AI, our technology offers faster and more accurate monitoring, allowing for timely interventions and proactive noise management. By identifying the sources and patterns of noise, stakeholders can implement targeted measures to reduce noise pollution, fostering harmony within communities. Our API has three main functions that work to analyse sound:
Noise Source Attribution
- Identify noise sources in short clips.
- Quickly discard irrelevant noise clips.
- Remove background noise (rain, wind) from large audio clips automatically.
- Identify sparse, rare sound events of interest (blasting, piling, engine spinning).
Acoustic Events Benchmarking
- Automatic retrieval of similar acoustic events.
- Statistical Benchmark of events properties.
Each of these functions enables better understanding, analysis, and management of acoustic environments. Understanding an environment is the crucial first step toward addressing its challenges- With fast and accurate analysis of noise pollution hotspots like bustling motorways, we can take the necessary steps to reduce noise pollution. We have trained our API on multiple datasets specific to certain noisy landscapes. One of the most effective models we have built is for traffic noises. With our traffic model, we can monitor a wide range of sound types sounds like:
- Our AI tool can accurately detect and classify tyre-related noises, such as tire squealing, tire screeching, or tire vibrations.
- We can precisely identify and analyse different engine noises, including engine revving, vibration, and grinding.
- Uneven road surfaces, bumps, potholes, and rough terrains can cause suspension components to generate noise that needs analysis like squeaks, rattles, or clunks.
- Applying the brakes can produce distinct sounds like squealing or grinding.
- Sirens from police cars or ambulances can be analysed to understand frequency and sound level.
- In addition to traffic-related sounds, our AI tool can also identify and discard various forms of background noise. This includes nearby construction noises, weather sounds like wind and rain, and even human voices. By filtering out irrelevant noise, our tool focuses on the critical sources of concern, enabling more accurate analysis and management of noise pollution.
By incorporating these comprehensive sound analysis capabilities into our AI tool, we empower communities, authorities, and stakeholders to take proactive measures in mitigating noise pollution and creating harmonious living environments.
A Future of Quieter Urban Landscapes
With the integration of our Sound Analysis APIs, the future holds the promise of quieter, more harmonious urban landscapes. By empowering individuals, businesses, and authorities with advanced sound analysis capabilities, we can address noise pollution at its core. Noise complaints will become more and more infrequent on the road to better sound analysis.