PREPARED FOR NOISE/NEWS INTERNATIONAL, 1999 MARCH.
The Austrian Noise Abatement Society (OAL) was founded as a section of the Osterreichische Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Volksgesundheit (OAV) (Austrian Working Group for Health) in 1958 October. The administration was done in OAV with subsidies from the Ministry for Social Affairs, other Ministries, and the governments of the 9 Austrian Lander.
The technical activities were led by the Federal Institute for Heat and Sound Technology. The mail special tasks undertaken by the Institute included establishment of guidelines, dissemination of the fundamentals of acoustics and noise control by organizing meetings, exchange of information on practical work in noise control within Austria and also with experts from other countries.
Some of the most important guidelines in the first years were measurement of noise emission of machines, measurement of noise emission of vehicles, assessment of noise exposure (in the neighborhood and in the working place), effects of noise on man, the acoustical basis for the construction of factories, low noise machines, and the psychology of noise production by man. Later, guidelines were established for calculation methods for road traffic noise, aircraft noise zones around airports, rail traffic noise, noise propagation outside and in factories, the basics for noise control in town and country planning, and noise labeling of machines.
The guidelines were widely used in Austria by all persons and organizations working in the field of noise assessment and noise control. Some of the guidelines were also introduced in regulations (e.g. calculation of rail traffic noise). In 1987, OAL Guideline 29 on low noise trucks was issued. This guideline defined the criteria for low noise trucks in harmony with criteria already existing in Germany. When the problems with high noise levels alongside the transit route from Germany to Italy through Austria became serious, the low noise truck guidelines were applied on the relevant Austrian roads during nighttime (combined with a speed limit to 60 km/h).
The importance of low noise trucks grew rapidly in Europe and these trucks are now state-of-the-art. Now, on all roads in Austria during night time, only low noise trucks are allowed with a maximum speed of 60 km/h (with exemption to 80 km/h on specially identified road sections that are not in a noise sensitive environment).
After 1991, there were some difficulties financing the work of OAL within OAV, and in 1994 an independent association, Osterreichischer Arbeitsring fur Larmbekampfung, was founded.
The aim of OAL is still unchanged; the dissemination of state-of-the-art information in noise control – especially through the preparation of guidelines in working groups and exchange of experiences in 5 plenary meetings per year. In 1997, OAL Guideline 36, Sound immission maps and conflict maps, planning of noise control measures; acoustical basis for regional and local planning” was issued, and at present two working groups – one on Calculation of aircraft noise zones around airports and airfields and a second on Basics in psychoacoustics, measurements and assessment – are drafting guidelines.
OAL was a member of the Association Internationale Contre le Bruit (AICB) and organized the International AICB Congress in 1962 in Salzburg and in 1982 in Vienna.
OAL is also working within the newly-founded Austrian Acoustics Association in the section noise control, and was been invited to work as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in the Conference on the European Union’s Future Noise Policy.