Meteorological Effects on Roadway Noise

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. NCHRP Report 791: Supplemental Guidance on the Application of FHWA’s Traffic Noise Model (TNM) synthesized the state of practice in addressing the effects of wind and temperature inversions upon traffic noise propagation. Chapter 11 of NCHRP Report 791 provides differences in modeled sound levels using SoundPLAN under different atmospheric conditions for temperature and wind but did not address other atmospheric factors. Research is needed to collect measured data on all critical atmospheric factors as well as to supplement data included in Chapter 11 of NCHRP Report 791. The results should help practitioners understand and explain atmospheric affects. 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.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $300000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 25-52

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Hartell, Ann

  • Performing Organizations:

    RSG, Incorporated

  • Principal Investigators:

    Kaliski, Ken

  • Start Date: 20150608
  • Expected Completion Date: 20171031
  • Actual Completion Date: 20171031
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37527

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01543481
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 25-52
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 15 2014 1:01AM