Highway noise can be pervasive and constant; and can interfere with people's quality of life. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) aims to minimize the extent to which highways have a negative impact on the noise-sensitive areas near them through regulations, policy and guidance, training and information-sharing.
In accordance with the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970 (Public Law 91-605, 84 Stat. 1713) and 23 USC 109(h) and (i), FHWA developed the noise regulation "Procedures for Abatement of Highway Traffic Noise and Construction Noise" (23 CFR 772). This purpose of the noise regulation is to help protect the public's health and welfare and to maintain community livability by establishing requirements for State DOTs to analyze noise impacts and consider mitigation for these impacts; and by encouraging local planning, zoning, and permitting officials to adopt noise compatible land-use planning. As such, avoiding and mitigating impacts from existing and planned highways is primarily a State responsibility.