TAMPA — Tampa is the thumping heart of the noisiest metropolitan area in the United States — though you could argue it’s not that loud — and the city is at its noisiest near Interstates 4 and 275 between West Shore and Ybor City.
That’s the top line from a nationwide analysis of the nation’s noisiest metro areas done by Zillow, an online real estate company that keeps a lot of data on the housing market. For its ranking, Zillow used noise data gathered in urban areas by — who knew? — the U.S. National Park Service.
Let’s take a moment to unpack that: The Park Service says laws and policies require it to “conserve acoustic environments” for the enjoyment of park visitors. So it has a sound-mapping program that takes a lot of long-term noise measurements, not only inside its parks, but outside as well, in both urban and rural places all over the country. That data allows scientists to build a model to estimate how places would sound naturally, if people weren’t present. In a similar way, the agency also maps how light pollution impacts what it calls the “scenic canvas” of the night sky.
Zillow says it aggregated the Park Service’s sound map with its own neighborhood and metro boundary data to rank more than 900 metropolitan areas throughout the United States.
And how loud is Tampa? The analysis puts the average noise level for the metro area at just under 45.7 decibels. That’s not as loud as the 50 decibels of a quiet suburb, conversation at home, a large electrical transformer at a distance of 100 feet, according to noise source information from the Purdue University chemistry department.
While Zillow’s ranking is for the whole metro area, including St. Petersburg and Clearwater, the loudest neighborhoods in the region mostly are along the interstates in Tampa: downtown (the loudest at 57.2 decibels), along with Carver City, West Riverfront and Historic Ybor, plus Gray Gables, which is south and east of W Kennedy Boulevard and S Himes Avenue.
All of these are in the high 56- and low 57-decibel range. By comparison, 60 decibels is comparable to conversation in a restaurant or office, background music, or an air conditioner running 100 feet away.
Following Tampa on Zillow’s list of noisiest metros is the Fort Myers-Cape Coral area in second place, then Trenton, N.J., Cleveland and Milwaukee. Looking for quiet? Head to Rock Springs, Wyo..
Contact Richard Danielson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times