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Division of Planning
Office of Environmental Services
Environmental Policy


Noise is considered unwanted sound, particularly when the sound causes annoyance. Noise comes from many sources. One of the most significant sources is from transportation, particularly traffic noise.

Highway noise comes from three sources: the engine, the exhaust and the interaction of the tires and pavement. Once typical highway speeds are reached, the predominate noise from light trucks and cars is from the tire/pavement interaction. Heavy trucks produce a high volume of noise from all three sources even at high speeds.

Mitigating transportation noise in the environment is important for the health and welfare of the surrounding community. Numerous studies have demonstrated the effect of noise on the health of those suffering under its impact. Effects ranging from hearing loss to cardiac arrest have been linked to noise. Prolonged exposure to noise in excess of 75 dBA (deciBels Adjusted) may initiate hearing loss. Noise may also negatively impact the quality of life of those who must live with it. Loss of sleep and the inability to hold conversations are frequent complaints. Helping to alleviate these negative impacts is the objective of noise abatement.


 Noise/Air Quality Presentations

ADC40 Summer Meeting 2016 Impact of Graphics on Noise.pptx
Noise Air EUM Update NOV 2015.pptx
Noise Air EUM Update MAY 2015.pptx
Noise Air EUM Update NOV 2014.pptx
Noise Air EUM Update MAR 2014.pptx

What Does a Decibel 'Sound' Like?

Click on the YouTube link below to watch a short video that compares the effects in noise level based on decibels:

Watch the Video







Noel Alcala
Noise and Air Quality Coordinator
(614) 466-5222

Frequently Asked Questions

A good starting point for noise policy and noise wall questions starts with the FAQs.

If you don't find the answer to your question on the FAQs page, then please feel free to email us your question:


Noise Analysis Manual

The Office of Enviromental Services has recently published an electronic version of the ODOT Highway Traffic Noise Analysis Manual.



Noise & NEPA

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) covers questions about noise during a highway project. Noise Wall decisionmaking is dependent on adherance to federal laws stipulated by NEPA.