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Australia/New Zealand  

WSP Acoustics: Noise Mapping Melbourne

WSP Acoustics has won the significant contract to develop a new city noise map. The major study will combine the transportation and industrial noise impacts across the entire region of greater Melbourne.

Bullet largest in Australia
Bullet 5600km2 & 2 million buildings
Bullet real world application

WSP won this hotly-contested contract for EPA Victoria, providing the base to help EPA Victoria understand the noise exposure, and subsequent health impacts, from environmental noise in the Greater Melbourne area.

The project is the largest such exercise so far in Australia – by far exceeding that of any noise mapping exercise that has been undertaken before - both in terms of the area covered and the level of detail provided. 


This is not merely an exercise in developing noise maps for the area. Using the results of the noise modelling, we will assess the percentage of the population of Greater Melbourne exposed to a range of noise levels. Every façade, every floor, every building

This will be used by the EPA to feed into a study on the health burden of noise in the Greater Melbourne area, as reflected in EPA’s Annual Plan 2012-13 (EPA publication 1488).


We’re working for the EPA on developing an accurate computer model of the greater Melbourne region, in order to calculate and map noise emissions across the area. This computer model will include noise modelling from road, rail, industrial and light rail / tram sources, and will be based on accurate Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) terrain data for the area. 

The model will also include representation for all buildings in 3D, and all existing noise barriers alongside freeways. It will allow us to account for screening of noise to areas and also to assess the impact of noise exposure at various heights within tall buildings. 

The large computer model will be assessed and verified against real-world measurements taken throughout the study area. 

The project will be completely run with our in-house Geographic Information Systems (GIS) expertise, with results incorporated into online tools, including Google Earth. These processes allow a level of examination and interrogation well exceeding the norm, creating an efficient and easy-access interface for the client.

Image © Landsat, DigitalGlobe, Sinclair Knight Merz & Fugro, 2013, Courtesy of Google ©


Prior to this project, city noise mapping has only been used in Australia on a limited scale, assessing roads or rail only, and often without the benefits of terrain, barriers, buildings and the like.

It is a tool used in many countries on a larger scale such as the project we’re undertaking in Melbourne. This is especially true in Europe where one of the obligations for member states within the European Union is to complete city noise maps for major cities under the Environmental Noise Directive (2002/49/EC).  

The benefits of having accurate noise maps for large scale urban areas are many-fold, including:

  • Noise complaint investigation, allowing an snapshot of expected noise levels across all dwellings in the affected area
  • Infrastructure planning and maintenance – with future noise level predictions, allowing budgets to be planned around when noise mitigation infrastructure will either need to be constructed or retrofitted
  • Holistically assessing the impact of infrastructure changes (e.g. with traffic modelling, what will be the change in noise level on the road network if a new road is built or altered?)
  • Master-planning and zoning layouts for new and redeveloped areas, aiming at reducing high noise districts and preserving quiet areas
  • Health assessments by understanding the environmental noise levels across the general population
  • Considerable cost saving with a city wide 3D base model for future noise assessments with new infrastructure, or for other environmental studies (e.g. Air Quality, Hydrology, Light Spill assessments)




If you would like to discuss any of the above or our leading Acoustics offering, please contact:
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Call us WSP Melbourne +61 3 8663 7880