Photo credit: versageek licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

The Greenwich Time reports that local activists in Greenwich, Connecticut are trying to get local and state officials to deal with noise pollution from busy I-95 as it goes through Greenwich. As the article correctly notes, most of the noise is coming from the interaction of tires on the pavement, not engine or exhaust noise.

Changes in road surface materials and joints between sections of roadway can make a large difference in highway noise.

One of the activists said that “[r]educing the highway noise by 10 decibels would be significant — a cut of that amount would mean a 50 percent reduction in the noise.”

I think he’s off on his math, because the reduction is even greater than 50%. The decibel scale is logarithmic, and a 10 decibel decrease indicates a 10-fold decrease in sound energy, even if the branch of acoustic science known as psychoacoustics states that the human ear only perceives a 50% reduction in noise from a 10 decibel reduction in the sound pressure level.

We hope the Greenwich activists are successful in their efforts to make their city a quieter, better place in which to live.

Thanks to Arnold Gordon, Greenwich resident, for bringing this article to our attention.