Sources of Noise Problems

Background Traffic Noise

The City of Edmonton’s Urban Traffic Noise Policy (UTNP) provides acceptable noise level thresholds for the City of Edmonton and assigns responsibility for reducing excessive background traffic noise in residential areas.

Noise Nuisances

The City of Edmonton’s Community Standards Bylaw 14600 deals with noise nuisances from all sources, including motorcycles, construction, neighbours and company operations.


Railway noise is addressed under federal jurisdiction. The City’s UTNP and Community Standards Bylaw 14600 do not apply to trains or rail yard activities. For more information, contact the Canadian Transportation Agency.


The City’s UTNP and community standards bylaw does not apply to noise from planes or airports. For more information, contact your local airport or Transport Canada.

Urban Traffic Noise Policy

The Urban Traffic Noise Policy (C506A) is based on a review of the 1983 Urban Traffic Noise Policy Study, the traffic noise policies of other Canadian jurisdictions, and public input in 2013. It seeks to mitigate excessive traffic noise over 65 dBA Leq24 in open, public spaces. Also, policy statements are now provided to address and potentially minimize the adverse noise associated with LRT operations in residential areas. 

The UTNP assigns responsibility for traffic noise mitigation and governs when and how new noise attenuation (noise barriers) is provided. The City addresses traffic noise issues around outdoor amenities in existing residential areas, usually where major transportation facilities are proposed or upgraded. Land developers mitigate traffic noise around outdoor amenities in new residential developments.

Noise barriers can effectively reduce noise problems; however, they are costly and not always feasible. Rather than trying to block noise, the City and developers try to prevent traffic noise from becoming problematic through urban planning and land use planning.