Validation of the Swedish soundscape quality protocol.
ABSTRACT The Swedish Soundscape-Quality Protocol was developed to help non-experts (e.g., officials working for municipalities rather than soundscape researchers) to make informed, accurate measurements of soundscape quality. The Protocol has hitherto been used in England, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and The Netherlands; a Korean version is being developed. Based on field studies - soundwalks in urban residential areas, recreational areas, and parks - the present paper reports on the psychometric properties of the scales of the Protocol. Participants were residents, or visitors to the areas and their results support the reliability and validity of the scales in the Protocol. Because high acoustic quality has a greater effect in visually attractive than in visually poor areas, the Swedish Soundscape-Quality Protocol includes scales for cross-sensory tabulation. These are sound source identification - sounds from humans, nature and technology - attribute scales (e.g., eventful, exciting, pleasant, and calm), overall soundscape quality, and concomitant visual impressions. In brief, the Swedish Soundscape-Quality Protocol is an easy to use and practical tool for measuring soundscape quality. It has the potential to help operationalize how soundscapes can be measured in "quiet areas" to meet a future guideline value of the World Health Organization.