Development of time-dependent characterisation factors for life cycle impact assessment of road traffic noise on human health.

Abstract : Noise affects human health, causing annoyance, sleep disturbance and increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. The quantification of noise impacts highlights it as a public health problem for which road traffic is mainly responsible. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a technique to assess the environmental impacts of a product, a service or a process. Despite taking into account many environmental problems, the impact of noise on human health is not yet properly taken into account in LCA. The aim of this PhD thesis is to integrate the impact of traffic noise on human health in the LCA framework.The scientific elements of acoustics and epidemiology that allow this integration are presented. An analysis of the existing methods is conducted by applying them to a case study. This helps to understand the advantages and drawbacks of the different approaches while comparing the results they provide. A method to integrate the impact of road traffic noise on human health in the LCA framework is then proposed. The method is based on noise prediction software and data made available by the Directive 2002/49/EC. This makes it possible to establish, with great precision, characterisation factors (CFs) connecting elementary flows of the LCA inventory with an impact on human health.The method is then applied to a sample of small geographic areas selected in the region surrounding the city of Lyon (France). The application of the method and the analysis of the results provides a multitude of information regarding the potential existence of a typology for spatial differentiation, the best form for the collection of noise information at the LCA inventory level, the spatial variability of the CFs and the uncertainties that may be associated with them. The CFs obtained show that integrating the impact of noise into LCA could double the impact of road transport on human health. This PhD thesis also identifies further potential research topics. Similar work needs to be done for other transport modes (mainly trains and airplanes) to allow for a fair comparison of different transport modes in LCA studies. Repeating this method in other geographical areas with other acoustic emission and propagation models and/or other noise prediction software would also help the generalisation of this work and the assessment of possible sources of uncertainties.
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Rodolphe Meyer. Development of time-dependent characterisation factors for life cycle impact assessment of road traffic noise on human health.. Human health and pathology. Université de Cergy Pontoise, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017CERG0879⟩. ⟨tel-01668439⟩

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