Vol. 6, No. 1 (December, 2006)

Seasonal Effects of a Tree Belt on Community Response to Road Traffic Noise: A Social Survey in Tomakomai, Japan
Tetsumi Sato, Takashi Yano and Takashi Morihara

A series of social surveys was carried out in Tomakomai, Japan, to examine the effects of a tree belt on community response to road traffic noise and its seasonal changes. The deciduous tree belt, 4.8 kilometers long and 15 meters wide, was sited along the north side of the road and the houses surveyed were divided into three groups; houses separated from the road by the tree belt, those in areas where there is no tree belt, and those in areas where the tree belt is on the opposite side of the road. The respondents were asked to answer the questionnaires every season. In order to prevent the respondents from dropping out, the purpose of the study was explained to the respondents as a survey of energy consumption. The effect of the tree belt on noise annoyance and the living environment was examined by comparing three groups of houses. It was concluded that the tree belt did not mitigate the road traffic noise annoyance, whereas it enhanced the total impression of the living environment. These results were consistent in each season.

Key words: tree belt, traffic noise annoyance, living environment, social survey, seasonal change

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