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Road traffic noise predictions are routinely calculated as part of environmental impact studies that are in-turn prepared to support the assessment of proposed infrastructure developments. Road traffic noise predictions are generally calculated using one of several common predictive models that have been developed worldwide using differing theoretical and empirically derived algorithms of varying complexity. Each prediction model has typically been developed to reflect the range of physical conditions, specific legislative requirements and noise amenity objectives of the country of origin. Although all models appear to have been validated in their respective countries and are deemed valid for their intended purposes, the limitations are not readily known and discrepancies between models are not well established. These uncertainties present a challenge for policy makers and practitioners in other countries who are looking to adopt a compatible and representative road traffic noise prediction model for the undertaking of environmental impact studies. Further, considerable changes to the variety of vehicles that have occurred over the years such as the increased presence of larger trucks on the road network can reduce the prediction performance of a road traffic noise model. The Calculation of Road Traffic Noise (CoRTN) procedure, initially developed by the UK’s Department of Transport, has been considered by Australian road authorities to be reliable and relevant in the Australian context for more than thirty years. In this work, CoRTN is used as a case study to explore known and potential issues when a source emission model is adapted to predict road traffic noise in countries other than where it was originally designed for. The review is extended to include a qualitative evaluation of four principal road traffic noise prediction models covering Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America, including the Japanese ASJ-RTN 2013, UK’s CoRTN, European Commission’s CNOSSOS-EU model and the American FHWA TNM model. The findings of this review highlight some key considerations, limitations and pitfalls for countries in the Western Pacific region when choosing a predictive road traffic noise model developed offshore. Differences in the vehicle fleet and road assets between countries, driven by a combination of differing socio-economic factors, regulations, freight transport strategies and geographical features, are discussed.
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