"Today the fact that maintenance of human health and incidence of diseases are conditioned by the level of environmental pollution is becoming increasingly clear".
-Gennady Tsaregorodtsev, 1974
The adverse effects of long-term exposure to environmental noise on human health are of increasing concern. In this study, we developed a hybrid approach by combining a traffic propagation model and random forests (RF) machine learning algorithm to map the total environment noise levels for daily average, daytime, nighttime, and day-evening-nighttime at 30 m × 30 m resolution for the island of Montreal, Canada. The propagation model was used to predict traffic noise surfaces using road traffic flow, 3D building information, and a digital elevation model. The traffic noise estimates were compared with ground-based sound-level measurements at 87 points to extract residuals between total environmental noise and traffic noise. Residuals at these points were fit to RF models with multiple environmental and geographic predictor variables (e.g., vegetation index, population density, brightness of nighttime lights, land use types, and distances to noise contour around the airport, bus stops, and road intersections). Using the sound-level measurements as baseline data, the prediction errors, i.e., mean error, mean absolute error, and root mean squared error of daily average noise levels estimated by our hybrid approach was −0.03 dB(A), 2.67 dB(A), and 3.36 dB(A). Combining deterministic and stochastic models can provide accurate total environmental noise estimates for large geographic areas where sound-level measurements are available.
Liu Y, Oriamo T Rainham DG, Chen H, Hatzopoulou M, Brook J, Davies H, Goudreau S, Smargiassi A. Integrating random forests and propagation models for high-resolution noise mapping. Environmental Research 2021; doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2021.110905
I'm Daniel Rainham, an associate professor at Dalhousie University. I work with a fantastic team of trainees and colleagues to explore the relationships between the quality of the environment and human health. The quality of the environment can be beneficial, like when we take time to immerse ourselves in nature; or, it can be detrimental such as when we are exposed to harmful contaminants.
My research is focused on measuring the characteristics of the environment, investigating how these characteristics affect our health, and experimenting with solutions and interventions toward a sustainable, healthy lifespan. If this type of work sounds interesting or even fascinating to you then please get in touch.
I'm always looking for enthusiastic and motivated individuals to join or support the team. Opportunities.