City of Enschede and UT students study potential of acoustic cameras

Every day, the City of Enschede receives complaints of noise caused by mopeds, motorcycles and cars. The noise pollution is especially bad around the canals, where there is a lot of traffic and where sound reverberates.

It is very tricky and time-consuming to enforce the procedures for violations; the police have to catch the troublemaker in the act and examine the vehicle. So other measures are needed to catch offenders in a structured manner. At the request of the City, students of  Mechanical Engineering at the University of Twente  are therefore studying the potential of acoustic cameras. Last week, they tested their devices and algorithms at Windmolenweg. "I’m proud that we’re taking reports of noise pollution so seriously and are looking for out-of-the-box solutions", says Alderman for Living Environment and Mobility Marc Teutelink. "It suits Enschede that a practical problem like this is tackled with technology, innovation and courage. We are gratefully making use of the knowledge of these students to make our city even safer and more habitable."


It is very hard for a device to determine the troublesome vehicle with 100% certainty. Ambient noise affects the measurements, especially in busy streets. Consequently, the students are investigating whether their devices and algorithms work on a straight road without a lot of ambient noise. If they do, the students will continue their research at a later time in a street with more ambient noise.


It takes a long time to develop an acoustic camera. Legal research still has to be carried out. That is why  students of Psychology at UT  are now looking at an interim solution: a noise smiley. A smiley to give road users feedback on their speed already exists. The technology developed by the Mechanical Engineering students can also be used to create a feedback system for noise. The Psychology students are devising a suitable system for it.


The Cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam are currently investigating the legal requirements for an acoustic camera. This is because the camera processes privacy-sensitive information such as registration plates, photos of the vehicle, and measurement data. You also need to know for certain that the photographed vehicle is the one that is causing the noise.

Source: City of Enschede