Cities are gearing up in the fight against noise. After the introduction of a general 30 km/h speed limit in almost the entire city and the establishment of many cycle paths and zones with priority for pedestrians, Paris now wants to bring more peace to the city.
The introduction of 30 km/h this year was already aimed at reducing noise, but now it will also be measured. For this purpose, microphone systems from the USA are used, which were originally intended to detect unlawful use of weapons. In Paris, these systems are now being installed to check which motorbikes and vehicles are too loud to drive in the city.
Noise has long been one of the main causes of illness in France, along with bad air. These have led to productivity falling and costs rising. It is estimated that this costs the French state up to 150 billion euros a year. Two-thirds of this is accounted for by transport, of which 55 per cent is road traffic, eight per cent is rail traffic and four per cent is air traffic. At least the noise on the roads should now be reduced. Noise meters called "Medusa" are now to be used to measure noise. This has already been tested in the suburbs in recent years. A total of four microphones and two image sensors on one device should be able to locate the source of the noise precisely. If the noise exceeds a certain level, Medusa can also record the number plates of the noise source. In this case, a new and lucrative source of money opens up for the city. But this is not yet the case. Starting in November, the devices will be installed in Paris and other cities. At first, they will only record and locate the ambient noise every few seconds. Later, a camera will be added to detect the number plates. From 2022, the first parking tickets could then be distributed automatically. In 2023, the noise radar should be installed nationwide.
Other European cities have also had enough of noise. In Amsterdam, the measurements are primarily aimed at motorbikes that are too loud, which repeatedly lead to complaints. But cars that are too loud are also to be identified and taken out of circulation. In Nice, warning signs are to be erected to appeal to car and motorbike drivers to drive more slowly and therefore more quietly when noise levels are too high. In Tyrol, Austria, driving bans have already been imposed on routes that are particularly popular with motorcyclists; anyone emitting more than 95 decibels will have to pay a €220 fine. Penalties for too loud engines are also being discussed in Germany. It is probably only a matter of time before driving bans and environmental zones for excessively loud vehicles are introduced throughout Europe.