30 Sep Loud Vehicle Noise: An Exhausting Problem
As the pandemic continues, people across Canada have adopted new daily rhythms. More people are working from home, so fewer commuters are on the roads. But less congested streets aren’t necessarily quieter. Adding to the problem, typical housing construction provides limited noise reduction, which makes loud vehicle noise more noticeable.
A recent CBC Radio story by Jason Osler highlights the problem of excessively loud vehicles and what Canadian cities are doing to address the issue. Regina and Fredericton have introduced new fines, and in Edmonton, police have been using noise monitors to enforce noise violations. Winnipeg police are considering a similar tactic.
In the story, Osler interviews BKL’s Mark Bliss, who discusses the challenges of using noise monitors to uphold traffic noise rules.
“Sound level meters are complicated instruments,” Mark says. “When you fine someone and they challenge your case, and then it comes out that you took the sound level reading incorrectly, then it was just a waste of time.”
Mark also describes how noise bylaws are “a piece of the puzzle,” and says that design and planning choices, like adding traffic-calming measures, could help cities limit vehicle noise.
Excessive noise can negatively affect our sleep patterns and stress levels, yet Canada lags behind other international jurisdictions when it comes to regulation.
“Municipalities, provinces, and the federal government as well should be prioritizing noise more.” says Mark. “The [Europe Region] World Health Organization considers noise as the second most hazardous environmental factor. It is a big health concern.”
It’s important for decision makers to recognize the potential impacts of long-term noise exposure on people. By partnering with professional acousticians, they can find the best ways to manage, monitor, and enforce excessive noise, and develop solutions to minimize negative effects on people.