From August 18-20 2009, the Audio Arts & Acoustics Department hosted the National Highway Institute’s (NHI) Highway Traffic Noise seminar. An overwhelming success, this three-day seminar attracted thirty-one professionals from Germany, Canada and the US, in addition to several current students and alumni.
The course instructors and representatives of NHI were impressed by such a diverse group of participants, both geographically and in terms of expertise. In addition to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) staff, the attendees included highway and tollway professionals from two states, engineering and environmental consultants, lawyers, noise control manufacturing representatives, and a developer of noise analysis software.
The seminars focused on the basics of acoustics, federal and state legislation, noise measurement and modeling including FHWA’s Traffic Noise Model (TNM) software application, acoustical barriers, and highway-project related noise abatement. The session’s three instructors were able to visually and aurally demonstrate the physical and perceptual aspects of sound, using the multimedia Interactive Sound Information System (ISIS).
Visual and auditory models were skillfully managed by William Bowlby, President, Bowlby & Associates, Inc., Franklin, Tennessee; Adam Alexander, Noise Team, FHWA’s Office of Human & Natural Environment, Washington, DC; and Roger Wayson, John Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Sean LaDieu, Senior Project Engineer for Huff & Huff, Inc. joined the team to present the State of Illinois Department of Transportation’s policies and procedures on highway noise measurement and mitigation.
On the final day of the seminar, participants took a 20-question certification exam. In what was a first in the instructors’ experience — everyone passed!
Mila Plosky, NHI’s Training Program Manager acknowledged the seminar’s success and has expressed a desire to host more events at Columbia through 2010.
“We look forward to this event marking the beginning of a long-term and mutually rewarding relationship.” Pantelis Vassilakis, Chair of the Audio Arts & Acoustics Department, stated. “We therefore plan to host another session in 2010 so that Columbia College Chicago can, in NHI’s words “…illustrate what a fine job an enthusiastic, non-traditional (i.e. non-State) host can do in working with NHI.”