Relationship Between Highway Noise, Noise Mitigation, and Residential Housing Values

Report No: 81-R1

Published in 1980

About the report:

This report presents the findings of a study of the relationship between different noise levels and market values for a sample of 206 single-family residences abutting I-495 in Northern Virginia and for a sample of 207 residences along two heavily traveled urban streets in the Tidewater area of Virginia. Estimates of the influence of noise on the market price of houses sold in 1978-79 at these sites where barriers have since been completed were then used to estimate economic benefits received by property owners. Among the 413 transactions, in which residences changed hands, only one of five noise measures, the level of noise exceeded 10% of the time (L10), proved to be a statistically significant influence on market price, and this was the case only for houses sold in Northern Virginia. In Tidewater Virginia, the relationship between market price and noise was not statistically significant except at low confidence levels. For the Northern Virginia sample, 1 dB(A) increases in L10 noise levels were associated with a 0.15% reduction in the market price of dwellings. Linear regression estimates of market willingness to pay for noise reduction revealed that a 1 dB(A) change in L10 levels was valued at approximately $94 ± $88 that is, the maximum consumers willingly pay to avoid noise in the markets studied is about $182 per dB(A). Using these estimates as a gauge of economic benefits, recent public expenditures in these markets on highway noise abatement per household far exceed such benefit levels, even for noise reductions of 10 dB(A).

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.


  • Gary R. Allen, Ph.D.

Last updated: January 22, 2024

Alert Icon

Please note that this file is not ADA compliant. Choose one of below options: