Proceedings of the second workshop on human response to aviation noise in protected natural areas, May 26-29, 2009
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Proceedings of the second workshop on human response to aviation noise in protected natural areas, May 26-29, 2009

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      Congress passed the National Parks Air Tour Management Act of 2000 (NPATMA) to regulate commercial air tour operations over units of the National Park System. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Park Service (NPS) are jointly developing the Air Tour Management Plans (ATMP) required by this Act, with support from the U.S. Department of Transportation, John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center). Approximately 100 park units will require an ATMP.

      Due to the agency overlap of responsibilities inherent in the ATMP process, the FAA and NPS share an interest to develop mutually agreeable and scientifically defensible methods to quantitatively assess aviation noise impacts in National Parks. Although the agencies could pursue wholly independent research programs, public investment in research will realize the highest return if the FAA and NPS jointly develop a prioritized list of research topics and a coordinated strategy for stimulating this research. To this end, the FAA, Western Pacific Region, Office of Special Programs, with assistance from the FAA, Office of Environment and Energy, and the NPS Natural Sounds Program Office, sponsored a research-needs workshop, organized and hosted by the Volpe Center, in October, 2008. Further details on the October workshop can be obtained in the proceedings document2. Due to the complexities of the subject matter, a second workshop was required to fully vet the research needs and develop a comprehensive plan. The second workshop, the subject of this document, was organized by and held at the Volpe Center in May, 2009.

      These workshops served as a forum for experts in the fields of engineering acoustics, social science, psychology, and recreation management to:

      • Exchange information and individual ideas on human responses to aviation noise;

      • Identify and discuss uncertainties about the physical and psychological factors that influence aviation noise;

      • Identify and discuss uncertainties about acoustic metrics to characterize noise exposure; and

      • Discuss the best methods to address these uncertainties.

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