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Sonic injustice: Disparate residential exposures to transport noise from road and aviation sources in the continental United States

Timothy W. Collins, Shawna Nadybal and Sara E. Grineski

Journal of Transport Geography, 2020, vol. 82, issue C

Abstract: Noise from road and air traffic is known to harm human health, reduce mobility and accessibility, undermine community well-being, precipitate socio-environmental conflict, and depress land values. However, there have been surprisingly few studies of social inequities in noise exposure in the United States (US). This is the first US national-level study of social inequities in residential noise exposure from transport sources. We integrated data on the socio-demographic characteristics of census tracts in the continental US (n = 70,780) with the most advanced spatial estimates of road and aviation transport noise available. Using bivariate correlations and multivariate generalized estimating equations that account for geographic clustering and effects of other relevant variables, we tested for social disparities in road and aviation noise exposure across US census tracts. Noise from road vs. aviation transport sources was not highly correlated, yet results revealed a clear, convergent pattern of higher road and aviation noise exposures for census tracts characterized by lower socioeconomic status (i.e., higher deprivation and proportion renter occupancy) and greater proportions of Hispanic, black, Asian, Pacific Islander, and middle/working-aged residents. Overall, findings indicate that American neighborhoods with high concentrations of racial/ethnic minority and economically deprived residents bear the brunt of transport noise exposures. Given this study's scope and findings, policy actions to reduce social disparities in transport noise exposures nationwide are warranted.

Keywords: Noise pollution; Transportation; Race or ethnicity; Socioeconomic status; Environmental justice (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2019.102604

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