Traffic noise

IntroductionEducational data logger

We are all aware of the steadily increasing noise from road traffic. There has been a recent study in Austria which found that road traffic noise can adversely affect children`s performance at school. Children who are frequently exposed to road traffic noise learn to filter out everyday sounds which leads to them not taking in as much information in the classroom (Source: "BBC NEWS | Health | Traffic noise 'harms' child health").

Equipment required

  • DrDAQ
  • Laptop PC (If measurements to be taken out in the field)

Experiment setup

Connect the DrDAQ to the PC via the parallel cable and the hang unit out of a window which is situated near a road. Make sure the sound sensor is pointing towards the road.

Warning: Ensure the DrDAQ is screwed into the parallel cable so that it does not accidentally fall.

Experiment 1

Set the DrDAQ to record the light level and the sound level at 10 minute intervals and leave the unit recording for at least 24 hours. View the data in graph view.

Experiment 2

Set the DrDAQ to record the sound level at 1 second intervals. Leave the unit recording for approximately 5 minutes. View the data in graph view.

Carrying out the experiment

Safety notice: children must be well supervised and briefed on road safety if experimenting near roads. These experiments should preferably be done by suspending the DrDAQ unit out of a building window that faces a road.

Questions and discussion of results

Experiment 1

  • Is the sound level higher on any particular day? Why is this?
  • What are the noisiest times of the day? Why?

Experiment 2

  • How many vehicles went past in the 5 minutes?
  • Which vehicles make the most noise, small cars, large cars, motorbikes or trucks?

Further study

  • Observe the differences in road noise from roads with different surroundings (sand, grass, trees, concrete, etc).
  • Observe the differences in road noise from different road surfaces.
  • Observe the differences in road noise from cars travelling at different speeds.