New study evaluates noise impact of trucks in Southwest Detroit

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Posted at 2:37 PM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 14:37:54-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Researchers at the University of Michigan are evaluating the noise impact of trucks in Southwest Detroit.

The U-M researchers are joining community members and the Southwest Detroit Community Benefits Coalition.

U-M says many trucks are being rerouted as part of the new Gordie Howe International Bridge under construction.

Their analysis, "A Community Noise Survey in Southwest Detroit and the Value of Supplemental Metrics for Truck Noise, " is published in the journal Environmental Research.

"Southwestern Detroit has many logistics centers and freight operations, manufacturing and assembly plants needing nearly constant deliveries, thru traffic from Canada to the rest of the U.S., and intermodal facilities where trucks, trains and ships transfer goods," said lead researcher Stuart Batterman, professor of environmental health sciences at U-M's School of Public Health, in a press release.

"This is already an impacted environmental justice area, where minorities and lower-income populations have much higher rates of environmental-related diseases like asthma."

The study sought to find new metrics that measure the impact of noise on annoyance, sleep interruption and increasing stress levels in the community. Traditional measurements focus on hearing loss.

"There's a need for better metrics that portray or gauge the influence of intermittent noise in communities that can interfere with sleep, the opportunity to have a conversation on your porch and impact the quality of life in your neighborhood," Batterman said.

Researchers said noise can affect sleep, cardiovascular and psychosocial health as well as cognitive performance.

Simone Sagovac of the Southwest Detroit Community Benefits Coalition said they hope the study will shine some light on truck traffic impacts and unintended consequences of truck routing, and that their findings will be considered in redesignating city truck routes and coming up with alternative routes as the Gordie Howe International Bridge is built.

"There are hundreds of semitrucks that drive next to homes in Southwest Detroit and we need more protective truck routing overall. A concern in the bridge development is that noise walls being built to reduce I-75 noise may unintentionally increase noise from service drive traffic toward the homes," she said.