Wireless Smart Sound Sensor Network-Based Highway and Construction Noise Measurement and Monitoring

Focus Area



Community & Cultural Concerns, Environmental Process






1-2 years

Research Idea Scope

TERI Administrator Note (Added December 2008) – Project sponsored by Ohio DOT is underway (see details below)

Develop a turn-key, wireless, low cost sensor system for autonomous monitoring, measuring, and reporting of highway and construction noise levels. The system would monitor noise levels in a community adjacent to a long freeway corridor or a large construction worksite and report periodically to a central location for an extended time period ranging from weeks to months. Noise measurements would be reported periodically to a central location.  Noise sensors must be rugged, low maintenance, low cost, compact devices capable of operating for an extended time period and transmitting a signal distances of 1000 feet to several miles. A large network of sensors (10-100) may be required to provide adequate coverage of the areas of interest. The sensors will contain at a minimum, a type II microphone (or equivalent) capable of being calibrated, and the capacity to measure an A-scale Leq.

Ohio DOT – Smart Sensor for Autonomous Noise Monitoring (SSAM)

The typical methods of assessing highway traffic noise include wayside measurements and near field measurements (NFM). A significant disadvantage of existing wayside measurement techniques is that they cannot be used to conduct noise measurements at multiple locations or over extended time periods due to cost and logistical consideration. NFM methods such as close proximity and onboard sound intensity have been developed to overcome these limitations. While these methods provide cost effective measurement of the tire pavement noise source, they do not provide the information needed to understand other noise sources or noise propagation. The objective of this project is to design, fabricate and test a set of prototype Smart Sensor for Autonomous Noise Monitoring (SSAM) devices and demonstrate their use and advantages as compared to existing methods of traffic noise monitoring.
Start date: 2008/2/1
End date: 2009/6/1

Project Manager – Andrea Stevenson
Phone: (614) 466-7880

Urgency and Payoff

Currently, large-scale community-wide monitoring of noise levels is very resource intensive. More efficient monitoring, measuring, and reporting of noise levels will greatly facilitate the development of noise abatement strategies.  Recent advances in wireless technology can result in low cost noise sensors capable of monitoring large (or small) areas and report periodically to a centralized location. This data could be used to plot community-wide noise contours (currently being implemented in Europe), monitor construction noise levels, and evaluate noise abatement strategies. This smart sound sensor could also be programmed to listen and report (or store time/date info)very specific audible events that would initiate actions, such as squealing train wheels triggering track maintenance, or presence/absence of nesting birds setting construction windows.

Suggested By

Bruce Rymer Caltrans

[email protected]