For Philadelphians, living with noise comes with the territory, whether your rowhome shares a wall with an extra-loud neighbor or you have a SEPTA station in your backyard. But just how noisy is Philly? And is there any place to get any peace and quiet here anymore?
Those questions now have answers, thanks to a new map released by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The project uses aircraft and road noise inventory data to determine the average decibel levels throughout the country, down to county level.
The researchers found that on a national level, more than 97 percent of people have potential to be exposed to noise levels below 50 decibels, from highways and air travel. That’s not too terrible, since 50 decibels is comparable to a humming fridge.
Looking at this map of Philly, it looks like a majority of Center City and beyond fall within this noise level.
But there’s a small population of folks throughout the U.S. who live within earshot of really, really loud infrastructure, with levels reaching 80 decibels or more. That’s basically like living with a garbage disposal that never stops running.
In Philly, those areas in angry red and purple are, not surprisingly, found right around the airport, south of South Philly. It’s also pretty noisy along the I-76 along the Schuylkill River and I-95 along the Delaware River.
Need some R&R? Look to the neighborhoods up the Schuylkill, like Roxborough and Manayunk.
You can play around with the interactive map here.