Community Perception of Noise Barriers: Volume II

Report No: 80-R39

Published in 1980

About the report:

The report presents the findings of a study of eight noise barriers installed along interstate and primary roads. A total of 488 interviews were conducted in eight communities adjacent to the barriers to determine citizens' perception of the effectiveness of these structures. For all eight sites, 57% of the people interviewed were satisfied with the noise barriers and a little more than half felt the barriers were reducing noise. Citizens were most satisfied with a beige metal barrier and least satisfied with a blue metal barrier. Aesthetically, a wood plank barrier was rated the most desirable and the concrete wall the least. Noise barriers were seen as having a far more positive than negative effect on the adjacent communities. However, noise attenuation was found to be the primary positive effect in but three of the communities surveyed, and these three were adjacent to an interstate highway. In addition to attenuating noise, barriers were said to give uniformity to the appearance of the neighborhood, increase property values, enhance the environment and safety, and increase privacy and isolation. Perceived negative effects included degradation of community aesthetics and decreases in property values. About 23% of the respondents said they could have settled for a cash award in lieu of a barrier. A significant number of respondents indicated that vegetation should be considered as both an alternative for and as an addition to noise barriers.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Michael A. Perfater

Last updated: January 25, 2024

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