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Port Noise Pollution


Dockside vessels, cargo handling, and drayage trucks generate significant amounts of noise that impact adjacent communities. Some of these noise sources generate very loud and low frequency sounds (less than 100 Hz) that can travel through near-by homes and create negative quality of life impacts (e.g., annoyance, hearing disabilities, cardiovascular diseases, sleep deprivation, stress inducing, and cognitive impairment in children). Mitigating these affects can be very challenging given traffic volume and the extended area where these activities occur, furthermore these facilities and surrounding areas tend to be composed of acoustically hard materials which facilitates the propagation of nose. This said, there are a variety of operational and technical options that can help reduce port noises. A comprehensive study is needed of these noise sources and efforts implemented by ports to monitor and mitigate these impacts on adjacent communities. This document would be a compilation of lessons learned that could be of value to other smaller ports that do not have the resources to implement similar studies.**


Develop a report that summarizes port noise issues, including anticipated health effects, a compilation of case studies of noise monitoring, data analysis and mitigation strategies.


a better understanding of port noise issues and possible strategies to monitor and mitigate these concerns may be of considerable value for port workers as well as adjacent communities.

Related Research:

Though the Sept/Oct 2005 TR News focused on controlling transportation noise, the edition did not include port-related noises nor are there any TRB publications on this topic.


To develop a technical summary of port-related noise issues and measures to monitor and mitigate the impacts of these events the following area need to be investigated:

  • Compile and review:

Health effects associated with exposure to loud noises.

Results from publicly available port noise monitoring studies.

Example noise mapping.

Compilation of mitigation measures applied to reduce noise impacts.

· Draft report that incorporates information compiled, recommendations and example monitoring and mitigation programs that other ports may be consider.

· Provide report to external reviewers.

· Final report that addresses comments from reviewers.

  • Prepare implementation outreach material for dissemination by interested parties.* Outreach material should be posted on the TRB website.

The information in this report will need to be disseminated to Port Authorities, government agencies, trade associations, and NGOs.


Agencies such as USACE, USCG, NOAA, MARAD, the U.S. EPA, and trade associations such as the American Association of Port Authorities, port authorities and NGOs may find this study helpful in the developing monitoring protocol and mitigation strategies. This study may also be relevant for Environmental Justice communities.

Sponsoring Committee:AW030, Marine Environment
Research Period:12 - 24 months
Research Priority:Medium
RNS Developer:Richard Billings
Source Info:Though much is written on highway, rail and aviation noise, there is considerably less on port related noise; much of which is related to the European Environmental Noise Directive. In fact a good starting point for this study may be the EU’s Noise Management in European Ports (NoMEPorts) documents.

M Bolognese, F. Fidecaro, D. Palazzouli and G. Licitra, Poret Noise and Complaints in the North

Tyrrhenian Sean and Framework Remediation. Environments, Feb 2020.

D. Borelli, T. Gaggero, E. Pallavidino, C. Schenone, Possible Solutions for Port Noise Monitoring, International Conference of Sound and Vibration, Conference Paper, August 2019.

European Regional Development Fund RUMBLE Project http://interreg-maritime.eu/it/web/rumble/

European Regional Development Fund MONACUMEN Project http://interreg-maritime.eu/it/web/monacumen/

European Regional Development Fund, REPORT Project http://interreg-maritime.eu/it/web/report/
Date Posted:11/01/2020
Date Modified:01/19/2021
Index Terms:Port districts, Ports, Noise, Lessons learned, Environmental protection,
Cosponsoring Committees: 
Marine Transportation

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