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Title: Immersive virtual reality and environmental noise assessment: An innovative audio–visual approach

Several international studies have shown that traffic noise has a negative impact on people's health and that people's annoyance does not depend only on noise energetic levels, but rather on multi-perceptual factors. The combination of virtual reality technology and audio rendering techniques allow us to experiment a new approach for environmental noise assessment that can help to investigate in advance the potential negative effects of noise associated with a specific project and that in turn can help designers to make educated decisions. In the present study, the audio–visual impact of a new motorway project on people has been assessed by means of immersive virtual reality technology. In particular, participants were exposed to 3D reconstructions of an actual landscape without the projected motorway (ante operam condition), and of the same landscape with the projected motorway (post operam condition). Furthermore, individuals' reactions to noise were assessed by means of objective cognitive measures (short term verbal memory and executive functions) and subjective evaluations (noise and visual annoyance). Overall, the results showed that the introduction of a projected motorway in the environment can have immediate detrimental effects of people's well-being depending on the distance from the noise source. In particular, noise due to themore » new infrastructure seems to exert a negative influence on short term verbal memory and to increase both visual and noise annoyance. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed. -- Highlights: ► Impact of traffic noise on people's well-being depends on multi-perceptual factors. ► A multisensory virtual reality technology is used to simulate a projected motorway. ► Effects on short-term memory and auditory and visual subjective annoyance were found. ► The closer the distance from the motorway the stronger was the effect. ► Multisensory virtual reality methodologies can be used to study environmental impact.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [3]
  1. Laboratory of Cognitive Science and Immersive Virtual Reality, Department of Psychology, Second University of Naples, Viale Ellittico, 31, 81100, Caserta (Italy)
  2. Department of Architecture and Industrial Design, Second University of Naples, Abazia di S. Lorenzo, 81031, Aversa (Italy)
  3. (Italy)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Impact Assessment Review; Journal Volume: 41; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States