Traffic + environment

Pollution control and traffic

Traffic is still a major cause of pollution in our cities, despite improvements in vehicle engines, lower pollutant levels in fuels and noise reduction technologies. This is due particularly to the continuous increase in traffic volume and the fact that many major roads are in densely populated areas. Rail and air traffic also contribute to transport related environmental pollution.

In Germany, environmental pollution caused by traffic noise and air pollutants, and in the case of rail transport, by vibrations fall within the scope of the Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG) and the associated regulations.

For the implementation of pollution control laws, lawmakers require that for all proposed road constructions (e.g. planning of ring roads) and more generally in urban development or other plans (such as new residential and commercial areas, shopping centres, or parking garages; the keyword here being zoning) proof of protection against harmful environmental effects due to traffic-related emissions is ensured by the proposed project. The expected immissions levels from traffic noise and air pollution and where required those from light and vibrations of the surrounding area must be determine at the time of construction or upgrading of railway lines, airports or service stations and rest stops. Müller-BBM supports you through the measurement and forecasting of immissions and advises you on the planning and design of appropriate protective measures.

Traffic noise

The mobility of the population, and as a consequence thereof, the use of traffic routes on land and in the air is constantly increasing. More and more locals feel harassed by traffic noise.

Different legal requirements must be observed for the assessment of traffic noise: Therefore, noise pollution must be forecast and assessed as a first step, e.g., during the construction or substantial modification of roads and railways, as well as facilities for air traffic. To this end, Müller-BBM carries out extensive simulations using three-dimensional calculation models. This also applies for similar issues in urban development or noise abatement planning. If needed, we also perform metrological recordings of noise in existing transportation facilities.

Depending on traffic noise, it may be necessary to ensure acoustic compatibility using the appropriate protection measures. When it comes to urban development planning and strategies for large-scale noise action planning, we develop optimal solutions adapted to the individual cases in close collaboration with the client and other parties involved. The interdisciplinary collaboration with Muller-BBM colleagues from other disciplines (e.g., shock and vibration protection, air pollution protection or light pollution protection) makes it possible to have simultaneous consideration of different protection goals.

In road and rail traffic, we are actively developing protective measures such as low-noise road surfaces, acoustically optimised superstructure systems for railways, screening devices in the form of berms, walls, or combinations of both, as well as passive measures such as sound-proof windows in residential homes. The air traffic often requires other solutions, such as planning acoustically favourable routes or times.

Thanks to our extensive research and our participation on standardisation bodies we propose noise control measures that are always up to date with noise reduction technology.

A variety of measurement systems are available at Müller-BBM for the continuous monitoring of traffic noise as well as the monitoring of noise control measures that we are able to specifically adapt to the particular situation.

Air-borne pollutants

The legislature must ensure that there is compliance with the limits laid down in EU Directive 2008/50/EC to protect human health and related laws and regulations that have been put into effect (e.g. 39th BImSchV). Of particular importance are currently air pollutants such as particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5 ) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

If the ambient air quality standards of the 39th BImSchV are exceeded, then the relevant pollution control authorities or municipalities must develop air pollution control plans based on emissions and environmental forecasts. Immissions forecasts also make it possible to verify the effectiveness of possible measures, including transit embargoes, in advance.

From the point of nature conservation, such as the conservation of wild fauna and flora habitats (FFH), traffic-related pollutant material inputs can be of relevance. If designated FFH areas fall within the scope of planning, then according to current law, nitrogen inputs into the respective protected areas are to be investigate in addition to the concentrations of the pollutants.

For your project, we offer problem-oriented solutions, ranging from emissions and pollution forecasts through to participation in air pollution control planning and/or noise action plans to monitor air quality using pollution measurements. More information and offers can be found in the corresponding website pages.


Rail vehicles, in addition to causing traffic noise immissions, also cause vibration emissions that can be a nuisance for residents and users of buildings in the vicinity—this is especially the case of underground lines. Here, appropriate protection measures are to provide as early as in the planning phase. By forecasting the expected shocks, appropriate and economically efficient measures to protect the residents from vibration emissions can be dimensioned.

In this respect, Müller-BBM can advise and support you in all planning and construction phases.


According to the Federal Pollution Control Act, light is a pollution that, to the extent possible, must be prevented or reduced. Even in the vicinity of roads, the effects of lighting systems should be precisely examined and if necessary, adjusted to meet the legal requirements. Müller-BBM supports you by providing advice and carrying out measurements during each phase of your project.

Additional pages