Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography






Airport noise -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area, Noise -- Psychological aspects



Physical Description

1 online resource (135 p.)


Most research on the urban sonic environment has been recent. One finding has been that physical noise exposure indices calibrate poorly with human noise response. The vagaries of human response to noise have given impetus to research to isolate the factors that differentiate human response to noise. The present thesis continues this research.

The thesis specifies human noise response to occur on three levels: awareness, annoyance, and complaint. The factors that structure each level of noise response are identified in the published Iiterature.

Noise awareness is a function of noise exposure. Noise annoyance is a function of noise exposure to a lesser degree. In addition annoyance is structured by attitudes toward the noise source, special interests in its economic benefits and personal susceptibility to noise irritation. Complaint concerning noise involves the previous factors plus an affluence or socio-economic component. The trend as one moves upward in the noise response hierarchy is for the structuring factors to become specific to individuals rather than location. Hence, noise awareness with respect to a stationary noise source will vary spatially, while complaint will be random in space.

In testing these premises the author has made use of noise exposure indices for Portland International Airport and a social survey of response in the area surrounding the airport. The noise exposure indices were supplied by the consulting firm of Bolt, Beranek, and Newman Inc. and the social survey was conducted and tabulated by the Center for Population Research and Census at Portland State University.

Multivariate methods were used for testing the premises concerning the hierarchical relationships between awareness, annoyance, and complaint.The variables representing awareness, annoyance, and complaint are quantified from the survey data through principle component and factor scores computer programs.

The noise awareness measure is selected for greatest emphasis since it underlies to annoyance and complaint. The noise awareness measure is investigated and errors in its measurement are estimated through psychometric methods.

Trend surface techniques are used to test the spatial regularity of awareness, annoyance, and complaint. As hypothesized, awareness is regular in space, annoyance less so, and complaint is random.

Through multiple regression analysis noise awareness is tested against socio-economic measures, noise exposure measures, attitudes, and special interest. Noise exposure variables account for the largest part of the variation in noise awareness.

A trend surface analysis is conducted on the values of awareness predicted by a large number of exposure, attitude, and other variables. The process is repeated for the residual values from the multiple regression. Predicted values are systematic in space but the residual values are largely random. The predicted values are mapped and compared with the actual smoothed awareness response surface. The two maps correspond well. It is concluded that noise exposure corrected for ambient noise levels adequately approximates the noise awareness response surface.


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