Traffic Noise Abatement: A Rural State Faces Challenges and Opportunities

This paper describes how the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) is being pressured by increased residential complaints because of highway traffic noise. Many of these complaints come from neighborhoods where the road was constructed long before traffic noise was an issue. The traditional approach to traffic noise control throughout the country has been the installation of traffic noise barriers along the highway edge of pavement or along the right-of-way adjacent to noise-sensitive areas. However, noise barriers are not always feasible, nor are they always desirable or reasonable in cost. As a non-barrier state, MDT has struggled with its traffic noise policy to allow for noise barriers and to involve local governments in the decision-making process. There is an overwhelming need to educate planners and developers regarding MDT’s noise abatement responsibilities. This research was proposed to: (1) examine abatement solutions that are alternatives to MDT-built barriers, and (2) generate awareness at MDT and throughout the planning community regarding residents’ and planners’ perceptions of traffic noise problems and solutions. Reviews of the literature addressed pavement-related noise, noise-compatible land use planning and development, sound insulation, and traffic management techniques for noise reduction1. In addition to a review of published literature, this research involved extensive correspondence and discussions with the staff of numerous state DOT and local agencies across the United States and in Canada. Also researched were Montana’s land use programs and responses to growth concerns. Finally, two surveys were developed and administered in the summer of 2003 to assess people’s perceptions of noise and noise mitigation: one survey was for residents near busy roads in four Montana urban areas, and the other was for local planners throughout the state. This paper addresses the idea of noise-compatible planning and development in Montana, with emphasis on an analysis of the survey data.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: pp 428-435
  • Monograph Title: Noise-Con 04. The 2004 National Conference on Noise Control Engineering

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01054148
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jul 19 2007 11:06AM