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DCA Airplane Noise Assessment Project

In fiscal year 2017 (FY2017), the Government of the District of Columbia initiated a study to investigate noise originating from Reagan National Airport (DCA) air traffic operations and to identify ways in which to minimize the noise effecting District residents in a manner acceptable to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards and criteria. The District’s ultimate goal is to assist FAA and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) in implementing the new Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).  The result of this project would be specific recommendations to FAA and MWAA for changes in Air Traffic Control (ATC) procedures to minimize noise exposure and impact to District communities while not adversely affecting the FAA’s goals of air safety and promotion of air transportation.

The District government issued grants in FY2017 and FY2018 to Freytag & Associates and CSDA Design Group, respectively for conducting a comprehensive assessment of the DCA airport’s aviation noise environment and its  impact on communities in the District of Columbia. The two year project concluded in September 2018 and a report has been prepared and finalized. Please access the comprehensive report for more details of this assessment and recommendations.

DCA Noise Study

The first grant was issued in FY2017 to Freytag and Associates and this Phase I effort involved background research, field noise monitoring data analysis, noise environment modeling and development of preliminary findings. Subsequently in FY2018, District awarded another grant to CSDA Design Group to continue the DCA Airplane Noise Assessment study. This Phase II study expanded on the FY2017 study, for incorporating various supplemental noise metrics suggested by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Noise Working Group (Technical Bulletin: Using Supplemental Noise Metrics and Analysis Tools, DOD Noise Working Group, December 2009).

The two year project concluded in September 2018 and the comprehensive report has been prepared. The DCA Airplane Noise Assessment project accomplished the following:

  • Review of all published DCA approach and departure procedures, prior noise studies, previous noise measurement reports, noise complaint files, noise monitoring data and records.
  • Modelling of past and current noise exposure from DCA operations over the District using FAA’s Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT).
  • Field monitoring and noise data analysis of aviation noise exposure at several locations in the District.
  • Conducted sleep awakening analyses for District neighborhoods significantly affected by nighttime DCA flights.
  • Assessed noise impact, per national standards for classroom disruption, at several schools in the District.
  • Evaluated alternative ATC routes and modifications to existing routes.
  • Conclusions and recommendations documented in a comprehensive assessment report.

A Public Community Meeting for the DCA Noise Study was held on Thursday, September 20th, 2018 at the Georgetown Day School (Lower/Middle School) at 6:30 pm. Please access the agenda and presentation for more details.

Please access the Final Report for more details.

Project Reports and Documents:

Fiscal Year 2017 Project (Phase I)

Contact: Dr. Rama Seshu Tangirala at [[email protected]] or (202) 535-2989