How the City handles traffic noise concerns.

How do increased traffic volumes affect noise levels?

Higher traffic volumes produce more traffic noise. Doubling the traffic on a roadway will increase noise levels by approximately 3 dBA, which is barely audible.
How does distance from the roadway affect noise levels?

Proximity to the roadway is a large factor in noise levels. The closer you are to the roadway the greater the noise will be. Doubling the distance from the roadway will lower the decibel level by 3 dBA.

Why doesn’t the City reduce the speed limit to minimize traffic noise?

The speed limit has to be reduced by 20 km/h to noticeably decrease traffic noise. Most arterial roadways in Edmonton have speed limits of 50 or 60 km/h. The City will not use posted speed limits of less than 50 km/h.

Roadways like Whitemud Drive are designed for greater traffic volumes and speeds. They're necessary to move people and goods throughout the city. An “artificial” reduction in the posted limit on a road like Whitemud Drive creates safety concerns because drivers tend to travel at speeds that feel comfortable, creating greater discrepancies between the fastest and slowest drivers.

Why doesn’t the City pave the roads with a quieter type of asphalt?

While there are notable benefits to reducing tire interaction noise with the use of rubberized asphalt (crumb rubber), the City is currently assessing the long term impact it has on reducing traffic noise.

The effectiveness of rubberized asphalt is impacted by our harsh winter season (freeze thaw), snow plowing, and sanding.

Is concrete louder than asphalt?

Noise tests done by the City have discovered noise from concrete pavement is 1 dBA louder than noise from asphalt pavement. The difference in noise levels between concrete and asphalt are not noticeable to the human ear.

Can vegetation reduce traffic noise?

In an urban setting like the City of Edmonton, the road right-of-way is not wide enough for vegetation to achieve a significant reduction in the noise level.

What can be done about vehicles without mufflers or with loud car stereos?

The Community Standards Bylaw deals with “nuisance” noise sources, including noisy vehicles. Complaints are addressed by the Edmonton Police Service as well as the City.

Residential Bylaw Complaints
How will newer windows reduce noise inside my home?

There is no difference on noise levels between double glazed and triple glazed windows.

If the original windows you replace are the older metal sliders with single panes of glass in each of the sliders, new windows will noticeably reduce the noise levels. If you plan on replacing your windows for the purpose of reducing noise, consider high sound insulating windows.

If I add a layer of Styrofoam insulation to my outside wall, will it help to reduce the noise from outside my home?

Styrofoam insulation is too light-weight to act as a noise barrier and not porous enough to act as an acoustic absorber. Although Styrofoam provides good thermal insulation, it provides poor acoustic insulation.

Some types of insulation do have sound attenuating properties and can be effective when used with other sound reduction techniques.