USDOT Maps Noisiest Places in California

The lawnmowers, the airplanes, the traffic, and that damn dog that hasn’t stopped barking since 6 a.m. Sometimes, all you want is a little peace and quiet. You could resign yourself to a life of earplugs and headphones and whirly noise machines, or you could move. But where to? Is there even any such thing as peace and quiet anymore?

The U.S. Department of Transportation has heard your frustrations. It released a map this year of the noisiest places to live in California, at least as far as transportation-related noise emitters are concerned. Predictably, cities near airports and major highways are the loudest. The map gets red hot around airports in San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, San Jose and Long Beach. So if you’re sound sensitive, avoid those areas at all costs.

There was one kicker in the report that some might find interesting. USDOT said, for most Americans, exposure to transportation noise ain’t so bad after all.

“Less than one-tenth of a percent of the population could potentially experience noise levels of 80 decibels or more, equivalent to the noise level of a garbage disposal.”

If a garbage disposal is our gauge, it might be time to rethink our standards.