The Performance of a Low Berm in Reducing Traffic Noise



Traffic noise measurements were made behind a low, earth berm and in an adjacent open field to estimate insertion loss.  The traffic was comprised of a mix of light vehicles, heavy trucks, and some medium trucks. The berm had a height of 1.65 meters above the roadway and began at the outside shoulder of a four-lane highway along U.S. Highway 101 in Northern California.  Two microphone positions were located on the far side of the berm at distances of 28 and 40 meters from the center of the near lane of vehicular traffic. Away from the berm, a microphone was placed in an open field at 28 meters from the highway at a site upstream of the berm. The difference between the open location and those behind the berm were 11.6 and 9.9 dB for the 28- and 40-meter locations, respectively. The reductions obtained with the berm are compared to double edge diffraction theory and acoustic scale model results from the literature. The results of this study are reviewed in this paper and a comparison to FHWA Traffic Noise Model results is presented.