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Sound and SafeA History of Listening Behind the Wheel$
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Karin Bijsterveld, Eefje Cleophas, Stefan Krebs, and Gijs Mom

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199925698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199925698.001.0001

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“Like a Boxed Calf in a Traffic Drain”

“Like a Boxed Calf in a Traffic Drain”

(p.107) Chapter 4 “Like a Boxed Calf in a Traffic Drain”
Sound and Safe

Karin Bijsterveld

Eefje Cleophas

Stefan Krebs

Gijs Mom

Oxford University Press

Chapter four shows how from the 1970s onwards not only the driver became encapsulated, but the car itself. In response to national and international regulation that limited the maximum noise levels citizens were allowed to be exposed to, many countries established roadside noise barriers, with the Netherlands as champion. These barriers met with resistance from both residents living close to highways and drivers. Drivers complained about the barriers’ imprisoning underground effect, feelings of being immersed in an uncontrollable stream, and loosing their view on the natural landscape. This resulted in “denial design” such as the establishment of transparent and green roadside noise barriers, but roadside noise barriers remained unpopular. In this situation of reduced control, worsened by the rise of traffic jams, listening to traffic information radio and audio books seemed to be a last refuge for experiencing freedom on the road.

Keywords:   NoiseLevels, Noise Barriers, Underground, Natural Landscape, Denial Design, Traffic Information Radio, Audio Books

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