Safe-D: Safety through Disruption

Street Noise Relationship to Vulnerable Road User Safety


Street noise may be a valuable indicator for bicyclist safety, but no studies have evaluated the relationship to date. This study develops a method for evaluating street noise and documented crash rates for roadways in Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C., in a manner that is replicable by researchers and practitioners. Researchers collect street-level noise in both cities over a range of locations, facility types, and times, and compare these against crash records, normalized by bicycle volumes, and other explanatory variables. Descriptive and inferential statistics of a pilot test suggest a role for street-level road noise impacts to vulnerable road user safety. If this full-scale examination in two cities show consistent results, street-level noise measurement—obtainable by non-experts—may offer time and cost savings relative to other street safety estimation methods for bicyclists. Street noise may be a valuable proxy for safety variables such as motorized vehicle speed, volumes, and proximity to bicyclists, which could result in improvements to facility design and crash modification factors to reduce bicycle crashes.

Final Report

02-027 Final Research Report (PDF)

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Griffin, G. P., Hankey, S., Buehler, R., Dai, B., Le, H., & Simek, C. (2019). Exploring Street Noise and Bicycle Safety: Initial Evidence from Austin, TX and the Washington, DC Capital Area. In Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting. Washington, D.C.: Transportation Research Board. (Accepted)

Research Investigators (PI*)

Greg Griffin (TTI/TAMU)*
Steven Hankey (VT)
Ralph Buehler (VT)

Project Information

Start Date: 2017-06-01
End Date: 2018-07-31
Status: Active
Grant Number: 69A3551747115
Total Funding: $60,234
Source Organization: Safe-D National UTC
Project Number: 02-027

Safe-D Theme Areas

Big Data Analytics

Safe-D Application Areas

Vulnerable Users

More Information

UTC Project Information Form

Sponsor Organization

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology
University Transportation Centers Program
Department of Transportation
Washington, DC 20590 United States

Performing Organization

Texas A&M University
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
3135 TAMU
College Station, Texas 77843-3135

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
3500 Transportation Research Plaza
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061