Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 1-31-2001

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Engineering - (Ph.D.)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Robert Dresnack

Second Advisor

Charles E. Wilson

Third Advisor

Sanford Bordman

Fourth Advisor

Harold D. Deutschman

Fifth Advisor

Rose Ann Dios

Sixth Advisor

Hsin Neng Hsieh

Seventh Advisor

Daniel Watts


The impact of aircraft noise on communities is complex and multi-dimensional. This matter cannot be resolved without careful analysis of a complex array of related problems and issues including the environment, the economy, and quality-of-life concerns of people living in proximity to airports or aircraft routes. The effects of community noise are widespread and varied. Impacts can include sleep and speech interference, activity interference, general annoyance, and property value decrease. In order to improve public policy and provide a foundation for additional research, it is imperative to establish the extent of a problem. Dollars are often the least common denominator in distinguishing the magnitude of an impact. This research addresses this problem in terms of the cost of noise impact to an order-of-magnitude.

It is extremely difficult to measure and price accurately most of these impacts. However, this dissertation evaluates, in dollars, the cost of aircraft noise to communities and provides possible strategies to mitigate negative consequences of that noise. The economic effect on the community is derived from the impact of aircraft noise on residential real estate values and the reduction of student proficiency rates on standard assessment tests.

It is assumed that noise is an inconvenience to the community and a symptom of airport related issues that include not only the quality-of-life of citizens, but also the economic well-being of the community and region at-large. It must be recognized that airports provide and facilitate economic growth and prosperity for a region. Directly and indirectly, the aircraft industry provides jobs, wages, and airport-related regional sales.

Presently, there are no universally accepted cost models and virtually all-existing models assess real estate impact as the primary cost concern. The primary thesis goal is not to find a precise value for the cost of aircraft noise, but rather to establish a rationale for utilizing and quantifying criteria in order to assess the cost of noise to communities. This, in turn, may assist in developing public policy to address the expanded concerns related to aircraft noise.



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