Transport noise

An effective transport system supports the economic and social wellbeing of NSW residents but the noise it generates can affect their physical and mental health. To balance the requirements of building and maintaining efficient transport infrastructure with managing the impacts excessive noise has on the community, the EPA delivers policies and initiatives to reduce noise and its impacts from construction, traffic and the railway network.

Road noise

The EPA has developed a NSW Road Noise Policy (PDF 4.4MB) with other key agencies and industry for

  • road project proponents
  • determining authorities
  • city and transport planners
  • acoustic specialists
  • people interested in the impacts of road traffic noise

The Road Noise Policy establishes criteria to

  • enable roads to be planned and designed to minimise noise during their construction or redevelopment
  • reduce traffic noise levels on existing and new roads
  • assess the impacts of road traffic noise on the community
  • provide information on the Roads and Maritime Service’s Noise Abatement Program, under which residents exposed to acute road noise where no further road developments are proposed may be eligible for assistance with noise mitigation measures

The Road Noise Policy is supported by NSW Road Noise Policy – key provisions (PDF 31KB) and the NSW Road Noise Policy - Application notes (PDF 22KB). They explain the main differences between the policy and the former Environmental Criteria for Road Traffic Noise and how to apply them.

Rail noise

The EPA is working with other agencies, infrastructure owners and developers, rail operators, train manufacturers, regulatory and planning authorities and the community to reduce rail noise and vibration from the NSW rail system. The main goals are to

The Rail infrastructure noise guideline

  • streamlines approval processes for rail infrastructure projects
  • ensures that potential noise and vibration impacts are assessed consistently and minimised as far as possible
  • specifies noise and vibration levels for heavy and light rail infrastructure projects

If noise levels are likely to be exceeded while the rail project is under way, the proponent must consider ‘feasible’ and ‘reasonable’ noise mitigation strategies.

Other types of transport noise

For noise enquiries about

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