RPS provided ground noise services for an environmental assessment regarding future development at Heathrow Airport.
RPS developed a model for predicting noise from ground operations using SoundPLAN software. The model needed to be large and complex to fully predict noise from ground activities from the entire airport, and taking into account the following principal noise sources:
Aircraft taxiing between stands and runway
Aircraft holding before take-off
Auxiliary Power Units operating on stationary aircraft
Servicing vehicles and plant in use for aircraft while on stand.
The main assessment stage for the project considered the ground noise effects of a large number of potential airport layouts involving different configurations of runways, terminals and taxi-ways, in combination with different operating modes.
GIS was used to estimate populations within noise contours in order to assess the relative effects of the options. Noise was also assessed for the 'surface access' road and rail links to the airport.
The results of the ground noise assessment were combined with the air noise assessment to feed into the process of environmental ranking of the options for a third runway.