Road noise or vibrations from road traffic

Traffic noise or vibrations you notice when vehicles pass you on the road happen when the wheels of the vehicle roll over the road surface.

Road noise and vibrations do not always happen together.

Causes of road noise and vibrations

Road noise or vibrations can happen due to:

  • the condition of the road
  • the weight of the vehicle passing
  • the speed of the vehicle passing
  • the type of suspension the vehicle has
  • how your property has been built
  • what type of soil your property was built on.

This is normal.

If you're experiencing issues with noise which are not related to passing traffic you can report this online.

Find out how to report an issue with noise not related to passing traffic.

Problems with noise from roads

There is no legal limit to the amount of road noise for existing roads, however noise levels might be looked at when new roads or houses and offices near roads are planned.

See more information on how this is assessed on GOV.UK.

If you report a noise that is happening as a direct result of something that you believe is wrong with the road, such as a pothole or loose drain cover, we will inspect and assess the site to see if there is anything we are able to repair. 

If you believe the road noise or vibration is being caused by a fault on the road network, you can report it online.

Find out how to report a road noise or vibration caused by a fault on the road network.

Problems with vibrations from roads

If you own a property, you may be worried whether the vibration will cause structural damage to your home.

However, vibration levels would need to be extreme and be physically intolerable to humans before they reached levels capable of causing structural damage.

See more information on noise and vibration management and assessments carried out for industrial processes.

Traffic calming

Trials have been carried out to assess the effects that road humps and speed cushions might have in producing vibrations when larger vehicles drive over them.

Measurements of vibrations were made for a wide range of vehicle types, crossing a selection of road humps and speed cushions at different speeds.

The results of these studies show that speed cushions and road humps can produce levels of vibration that you may notice and that vehicles with a gross vehicle weight over 7.5 tonnes generate the highest levels. 

Under the most severe conditions this can lead to complaints and anxieties concerning building damage. However, even under these worst-case conditions, it is very unlikely that road humps and speed cushions pose a significant risk of even minor damage to property.

If you believe the road noise or vibration issue is causing damage to your property, you will need to seek independent advice from a property specialist and/or your insurance company.

Unfortunately, Medway Council Highways do not have access to seismic measuring equipment and any surveys of these types to private properties would need to be organised and paid for by the property owner.