Cities witness reduced noise pollution during the COVID pandemic

  • environment

EUROCITIES is gathering data on noise levels in cities during confinement.


Our cities have witnessed a measurable reduction in noise pollution since the beginning of the crisis. EUROCITIES is gathering data from members of WG noise on these changes. With road traffic the number one source of noise pollution in Europe - exposing some 113 million citizens to harmful noise levels  - it is no surprise that the reduction in road traffic has led to a measurable reduction in noise pollution also. Taking these findings, the WG will consider how this evidence could impact local level policies for reducing noise pollution in the long-term. Below are the findings from some of our cities measuring noise during the global pandemic:

Acoucite has recorded sound levels across France and found a significant drop in noise with an average reduction of between 4dB to 6dB. 

The city of Barcelona are sharing weekly updates on the changes in noise in their city, find out more here

The city of Oslo has also been monitoring the change in traffic and noise levels since the crisis hit, however they have seen limited reduction in noise levels, as can been seen in thier report below.

Lille Metropole has been developing a weekly measurement report on noise, available below. The report shows a steady average 5dB reduction in noise pollution across Lille Metropole, and comparison to a global average both before and after confinement. 

In Turin, the average road traffic noise decreased by about 4 dB (A) with the interruption of non-essential commercial activities and with the prescription for people to remain at home; this decrease corresponds to an average reduction in traffic flows on the urban network of the order of 60%. In the nightlife areas the changes are even more evident. The soundscape of the night in these areas is completely changed: the sounds of people 's voices have completely disappeared during the night and the current sound levels, up to almost 30 decibels less than before. More information available here.

Although noise is not measured in Utrecht, SensorNet - a private company in the Netherlands – found that in general noise levels have decreased around 3 dB.

How have noise levels changed in your city? Submit your responses to and together we'll build a picture of changing noise levels through this crisis. 

Did you know EUROCITIES is developing a statement on noise pollution from road traffic? We've a number of key recommendations for reducing noise from source and an emphasis on promoting modal shift as a means of reducing noise. Join us on Wednesday 8 July @ 15.30-17.00 to discuss feedback and finalise the statement. (link will be sent to WG noise, alternatively get in touch with Heather Brooks)