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There are many factors that affect traffic noise volumes. Targeting these factors can help the City reduce noise problems in residential areas and around major transportation facilities.

Traffic Volumes

When traffic volumes double, the noise level increases by about 3 dBA.

Traffic Speed

At high speeds, tires moving over pavement are louder than engines.

Types of Vehicles

Buses, trucks, motorcycles and emergency vehicles produce more noise than cars.

Driver Behaviour

Over accelerating and braking increases engine noise.

Road Condition

Rough road surfaces increase the noise from tires moving over pavement.


Flat, open spaces allow sound waves to travel greater distances.


Wind carries sound waves, which may amplify noise from distant sources.

The City designates specific roads as recommended routes for transit, trucks and emergency vehicles. Arterial roads and highways are designed to accommodate these types of vehicles and high traffic volumes. Channeling traffic to the appropriate roads helps reduce traffic noise in residential neighbourhoods.

Noise Barriers

Noise barriers are used along some major roads and highways to lower noise levels for adjacent properties. When positioned correctly, noise walls and berms reflect medium to high frequency sound waves.

Noise barriers do not eliminate traffic noise. They can reduce noise levels by 5 to 10 dBA, which equals 25 – 50% less noise. While trees and bushes provide a visual barrier from traffic, they are not effective for noise reduction.

The height, length, material and position of a barrier are customized for each site based on cost, land availability and level of attenuation required.

Purchasing a Home?

If you are sensitive to traffic noise, look for homes away from busy roads with bedroom windows that face away from major sources of noise.

Improving your Home?

Noise attenuating caulking, weather-stripping, roof venting, insulation, roof construction, wall construction, location of windows and types of windows can help prevent traffic noise from entering your home. If you are going to renovate, consider improvements that will help reduce noise in your home.

For More Information

311 Contact Centre

Online Contact 311 Online

In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

TTY 780-944-5555

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