Noise Studies: Why Do Them and What To Know

GZA has provided noise assessment and mitigation design services for years, and we’ve found increasing need for noise studies throughout the areas we serve.  Primarily driven by regulatory compliance, current noise projects include: 

  • Roadway work subject to Federal Highway Administration rules
  • Railway noise and vibration analyses subject to Federal Transit Authority and Federal Railroad Administration guidelines
  • Long-term noise monitoring on construction sites
  • Assessments and modeling at operational or proposed industrial facilities, including data centers, utility substations, warehouses, etc.
  • Environmental Impact Studies for private and public sector projects, including residential developments and schools

For most studies, strategically placed sound level meters are deployed to record decibel levels during typical and simulated conditions, such as weather conditions. Studies range from a few minutes to identify a source, to a few days to capture typical operations (i.e., observing or modeling truck movements such as air braking and trailer hitching at a proposed warehouse facility or running generators and chillers at a data center to determine sound impacts to neighborhing receptors), up to several months for ongoing monitoring.  Modelling software then analyzes sound data in three dimensions, producing sound level contour maps which demonstrate noise impacts to sensitive receptors, such as homes, with and without mitigation.

With a keen understanding of the local, state, and federal regulations, our noise consultants analyze the results and work closely with architects, engineers, clients, and regulators in the early phases of a project – often before permitting.  Noise study results may impact a project’s design, so the earlier the better!  Adjustments to design elements may include higher grade sound-attenuating windows, specifically designed building ventilation systems, upgraded interior/exterior wall components, sound-absorbing acoustic barriers/fencing, and/or earthen berms.

GZA staff are trained in CadnaA three-dimensional acoustical modeling software. CadnaA is used to determine noise impacts from a wide range of developments including traffic, warehouse, residential, industrial, data centers, and mechanically-intensive data centers. 

Got noise?  Call Gene Bove, INCE/NYC and Mid-Atlantic,, 973-534-4090; Tim Kelly, P.E., INCE/Midwest,, 708-289-7954; and Rayan Shamas, P.E., INCE/Construction Compliance Monitoring,, 617-595-1238.

For more information about GZA’s comprehensive Land Use and Environmental Services,

For OSHA-related noise consulting needs, contact Benjamin Sallemi, Ph.D., CIH,, 973-248-7816.