Community or neighborhood noise is emitted from a variety of sources including roads, rail, air traffic, industry, construction, and neighborhood activities. The health consequences of harmful levels of noise can be significant, including hearing impairment and loss, interference with speech communication, disturbance of rest and sleep, as well as the potential for physiological, mental-health, and performance effects. Noise control is a federal, state, and local issue in the United States, and there are a number of tools employed to minimize the harmful effects. Local planners can minimize the adverse effects by working cooperatively with other public and private agencies to plan, design, and construct development projects. In addition, effective land-use planning and development may discourage sensitive land uses near highways and other noise sources, and promote the use of open space separating roads from developments.

Design for Health (DFH) Materials

Reports and Guidelines:

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Noise Control Act.
  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). 2006. Highway Traffic Noise in the United States: Problem and Response. (98 KB)
  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). 1995. Highway Traffic Noise Analysis and Abatement Policy and Guidance. (282 KB)
  • World Health Organization (WHO). 1999, Guidelines for community noise.

Web sites

Back to General Health Issues

Back to Planning Information Sheets

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.