Cost-Benefit Analysis of DOT Investment in Transportation Noise Barriers and Development of Prototypical Cost/Benefit Model for Evaluating Future Projects

Focus Area



Community & Cultural Concerns, Environmental Process






1-2 years

Research Idea Scope

TERI Administrator Note (May 2013):  Completed July 2012 as NCHRP  10-76 Methodologies for Evaluating Pavement Strategies and Barriers for Noise Mitigation 

Although efforts to reduce transportation-related noise are costly , the nature and magnitude of their benefits have not been well documented or accurately measured. As a consequence, policymakers may not have been thoroughly informed with regard to decisions on the design of noise-regulation and control strategies and the allocation of resources among different measures to reduce noise impacts.

The objective of the proposed study is to determine how past funds have been spent with regard to transportation noise reduction and to make recommendations on how to best allocate future funds, taking into account the potential benefits associated with particular decisions. The studywill include a general account of past expenditures and a related evaluation of effectiveness. In short, the study will address the following three questions: 1. On what projects have noise-related funds been spent?; 2. How effective were these projects at accomplishing their goal of noise reduction; that is, what benefits were reaped?; and 3. How are future noise-related funds best spent? In addition, this study will produce guidelines that will explain the process for conducting a noise cost-benefit analysis. This document will serve as a prototypical cost-benefit tool.

Urgency and Payoff

Maintaining support for the continued investment in noise-reduction technologies, including
noise-modeling tools, and the development of effective noise-regulation strategies is contingent upon developing a more complete understanding of the costs of transportation noise, including the cost associated with further reductions on noise and the economic impacts of residual uncontrolled noise. In addition, it is imperative to understand the measurable benefits of an effective, well-rounded noise-control strategy, which includes elements of source noise control, operational techniques, and land use planning, including the design and development of accurate prediction tools.

Suggested By

Transportation Research Board 2002 Environmental Research Needs Conference Notes

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