The health risks of exposure to transportation noise may not command the same attention as those of exposure to particulate matter or motor vehicle crashes. But it turns out that prolonged exposure to noise is a serious matter, with numerous deleterious health effects—from sleep disruption and behavioral changes, to hearing loss, hypertension, and heart disease. New research focusing on Houston, Texas, attributes nearly as many premature deaths to transportation noise as to motor vehicle crashes, and shows that low-income households are at heightened risk of death from transportation noise exposure.
Shifting store, restaurant, and other business deliveries to nighttime hours could reduce traffic congestion within cities. A study conducted in Stockholm, Sweden, has found that scheduling deliveries to businesses during off-peak (night) times can reduce congestion within a city. Large freight vehicles travelling through urban cores and parking on streets while unloading goods adds to traffic congestion. In addition, traffic congestion cost U.S. trucking companies $63.4 billion in 2015. However, Stockholm is a unique city because it bans truck deliveries between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., intended to reduce noise in the city during the night.
The World Health Organization considers road noise a health hazard, and various studies have found that road noise can have a detrimental effect on health and wellbeing. A study by researchers in Montreal investigated whether residents age 15 years and under and over 65, as well as low-income populations and visible minorities, were more likely to live in areas with high road noise.