2007 noise surveys - Changes and comparisons

2007 noise surveys - Changes and comparisons


Both the 2006 social survey and a similar survey in 1986 found that traffic and residential noise affect the greatest proportion of the community.

While the amount of traffic increased in Melbourne, urban noise levels were generally similar to those in the 1970s. Newer vehicles being quieter may explain this. However, the social survey found that the percentage of people exposed and annoyed by traffic noise had increased since 1986. This would indicate that although the measured roads have similar noise levels, there were now more ‘busy’ roads across Victoria, with more people living nearby.

Annoyance from construction and alarms had also increased. Annoyance due to TV/music noise increased in the preceding 20 years, while barking dogs annoyed fewer people.

Comparison with other cities

A UK study of environmental noise levels showed that Melbourne and the UK had similar noise levels throughout the day and night.

According to social research, Victorians experienced environmental noise impacts similar to those in other Australian states and overseas.

Response to noise impacts

Over one in six respondents (18 per cent) in the social survey said they had complained about noise to the authorities, with complaints made primarily about neighbour noise and road traffic noise. Police (60 per cent) and local government (25 per cent) received the majority of complaints.

Over one in ten respondents said they had tried to solve the noise problem themselves. Of these, 63 per cent made changes to their homes or their habits and 37 per cent tried to directly or indirectly resolve the problem through negotiation or demand. Changes to the home were the most effective. In these cases, such actions solved the problem in about half of the cases.

Weekdays Graph

  • LAeq 1hr – refers to the average sound level over an hour of measurement. It is also adjusted to be representative of the way people hear sound
  • dB — decibel, the unit of measure for sound or noise.
Time (hours) Average noise level (LAeq 1hr dBA)
1978 2007
0:00 50.5 47.0
1:00 48.0 45.7
2:00 44.7 43.6
3:00 44.8 43.6
4:00 44.8 44.2
5:00 47.0 46.7
6:00 50.5 49.6
7:00 53.6 53.6
8:00 57.6 55.8
9:00 58.0 55.6
10:00 56.7 55.5
11:00 56.5 54.9
12:00 56.0 54.7
13:00 56.3 54.8
14:00 56.3 54.1
15:00 56.5 55.0
16:00 56.8 56.1
17:00 57.1 55.3
18:00 56.6 55.2
19:00 54.9 53.4
20:00 54.5 51.8
21:00 53.2 49.9
22:00 51.7 50.1
23:00 52.7 48.3

Page last updated on 2 Aug 2012