Aircraft noise management through controlled-area demarcation in South Africa: Its application at Cape Town International airport
Aircraft noise is a growing social, technical, economic and environmental problem, especially in developing countries like South Africa. It arises from the growth in air traffic, urbanization, uncoordinated planning around airports, and open-window living that makes physical insulation an ineffective mitigating solution. Cape Town International airport is a typical South African example of the phenomenon. Air traffic volume is steadily increasing and an additional runway has been proposed for the airport's efficient operation. The changing noise pattern requires the demarcation of a 'noise-controlled area' around the airport as the planning framework that is legally prescribed to manage this type of environmental nuisance. This paper reports the application of geographic Information system (GIS) technology to define a control zone using various spatial demarcation techniques. Each alternative zone has different spatial characteristics that define and incorporate the adjacent residential communities affected as well as vulnerable land in the vicinity. An aircraft noise generation model was used to map noise intensity contours. Different spatial noise footprints for six optional demarcation criteria were used to identify affected areas around the airport. The GIS methods were then compared and evaluated to select the optimum planning approach under South African conditions.