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Map reveals noise of Atlanta’s transportation infrastructure

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Airports, interstates generate distinctive noise patterns tracing the infrastructure that makes Atlanta hum

Map of greater Atlanta, with major highways and airports clearly visible in red and yellow, representing noise levels.
A map of the noise generated by transportation across the Atlanta area.
US DOT

The noise of the city is the noise of commerce, and the hum of traffic and din of airplanes above is an audible manifestation of the work happening at every hour in Atlanta.

Now, a new map of the United States by the Federal Department of Transportation illustrates the noise of the figurative—and literal—engines of the economy.

In Atlanta, it’s no surprise that the interstates running through and around the city emit a distinctive path of constant noise. With the never-ending traffic, the interstates in the city maintain a 24-hour average noise level equivalent to a garbage disposal.

Fortunately, the noise tapers off quickly beyond the boundaries of the roads, though for anyone who lives within a few blocks of an interstate or main road, the constant hum of traffic is a familiar fact of life.

By far, however, it’s not the interstates that generate the most severe transportation noise in Atlanta—but the airports spread across the metro.

The noise from planes taking off and landing at Hartsfield-Jackson results in almost every property south of Interstate 20 dealing with the constant background noise of plane engines, the federal study found.

Similar patterns emerge around the area’s smaller secondary airport, with a distinctive starburst pattern mirroring Peachtree-Dekalb Airport’s runway layout.

With Atlanta’s population on the upswing, and development encouraging more residents to move into all parts of the city, the noise of traffic will continue to be music to Atlantans’ ears.

The southeastern US, with transportation noise mapped.