The National Academies

NCHRP 25-52 [Final]

Meteorological Effects on Roadway Noise

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Research Agency: RSG, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Ken Kaliski
Effective Date: 6/8/2015
Completion Date: 10/31/2017

STATUS: Research is complete and the final report and accompanying materials are available HERE.
Original data used to develop NCHRP Report 882 are available upon request. Send requests via email to Ann Hartell, ahartell@nas.edu, and include a short explanation of the intended use of the data (for example, name of research project, research sponsor, affiliation and location of research team, and general plan for publication of results). 

State DOTs are frequently asked by transportation stakeholders and members of the public how meteorological influences affect roadway noise. The propagation of sound waves from a roadway traffic source is affected by meteorological phenomena such as temperature inversions and atmospheric stability. Specifically, studies show noise levels fluctuate as a result of changes in vertical gradients of wind speed and temperature that lead to refraction of sound waves. 
The objectives of this research are to (1) measure and document the meteorological effects on roadway noise propagation under different atmospheric conditions and (2) develop best practices and provide guidance on how to (a) quantify meteorological effects on roadway noise propagation and (b) how to explain those effects to the public. The guidance will, at a minimum, (1) identify the most critical atmospheric parameters (e.g., atmospheric stability, wind, humidity, etc.) that affect roadway noise propagation, and the distances at which their respective influences may occur and (2) aid in determining when meteorological effects should and should not be considered in noise analyses. The research results should enable practitioners to understand and explain roadway noise levels under different atmospheric conditions in a roadway noise analysis.

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