Finding Common Ground
Efforts to manage and mitigate noise, both on and off an installation, help reduce community exposure to noise while protecting the military mission. This Primer addresses the many ways DoD works with communities to find common ground and protect communities from noise exposure.
There are many opportunities for military installations and neighboring communities to reach mutually beneficial solutions to address noise-related concerns. Service- and Installation-specific noise management programs help installations work with their neighbors to address the impacts of military noise. Cooperative problem solving improves the likelihood of successful noise management.
Education and outreach are the first step in developing cooperative relationships between installations and communities. Informed communities are often the most engaged. It is very important for communities to understand the noise challenge, how to communicate with the installation, and participate in community and installation planning efforts. Establishing and maintaining a connection between installation and community is essential.
Planning and prevention can go a long way to achieving success and mutual benefit for the military and surrounding communities. Military activities and community development are in a constant state of change. For the military, noise management is always a part of the planning process. As close neighbors, coordinating planning activities and identifying compatible land uses can minimize or eliminate unnecessary community noise exposure.
Adequate mechanisms for responding to and mitigating noise exposure are also important components to any noise management program, especially for communities already exposed to or impacted by military noise. Complaint management systems and procedures help address community concerns while also allowing the installation to identify the source and determine whether adjusting testing and training operations to minimize or prevent further impact.
How does the DOD quantify noise and predict annoyance?
While it is difficult to directly measure annoyance, studies have found that sound levels can help to predict how communities will react to different noises. Decades of community surveys and scientific studies have produced and validated an internationally recognized relationship between transportation sound levels and community annoyance. This relationship is used to develop land use recommendations for all federal, state, and local agencies. DoD also applies this relationship to noise generated by military activities. DoD and communities use these land use recommendations as part of their decision-making.
What is the DoD doing to reduce annoyance?
Community and environmental noise management programs are specifically designed to help military installations work with their civilian neighbors to address the impacts of military noise. These programs guide noise management efforts both on and off a base/installation and often include the following elements:
- noise assessment;
- noise education;
- complaint management;
- noise mitigation; and
- vibration information