Transport noise from road traffic and trains can impact people in their homes and other sensitive areas like schools.
Reducing the impact of road traffic noise
Ways to reduce road traffic noise and its impacts are by:
- setting noise standards for motor vehicles
- installing quieter road surfaces
- fitting low noise tyres to vehicles
- using noise barriers to block noise from reaching sensitive use areas
- managing traffic conditions like reducing speed limits, controlling traffic flow and restricting use of heavy vehicles on some roads
- designing and constructing sensitive buildings, such as homes and schools, to reduce external noise
- integrating transport and land-use planning.
You can lower road traffic noise by:
- walking or cycling instead of driving
- buying a quiet car
- driving slowly and calmly, without sudden acceleration and braking
- maintaining your vehicle
- reporting noisy vehicles.
Find out more about traffic noise best practice and different ways to reduce the impacts of road traffic noise.
Reducing the impact of rail noise
Under the Passenger rail infrastructure noise policy, transport and planning authorities must manage passenger rail noise.
This policy applies to:
- new or improved passenger rail infrastructure like rail lines
- changing of land use, near existing or planned rail lines.
In the design and construction phases of new rail infrastructure projects, ways to reduce rail noise include installing:
- continuous smooth tracks
- rubber insulators under the track to reduce vibrations.
Ways to reduce noise from existing trains and tracks are by:
- welding and grinding the track to make it smooth
- installing mufflers on diesel locomotives
- using low-squeal brake blocks
- maintaining trains and equipment
- using noise barriers to block the noise reaching sensitive use areas.
Reducing road traffic and train noise within homes
Design of new apartments near busy roads, railways and industry should include protection against these noise sources for residents. When buying an apartment, ask if any noise control measures are in place.
If you’re building a new home, you can have it designed and built so less noise comes inside. Ask your architect or building designer to help you choose a layout and construction materials to reduce noise.
Find out more about how to keep out noise at your home.
Read more about reducing transport noise
Reviewed 28 April 2021