What Is the Frequency of Road Noise?

by John William Dye

You don't notice it until it's gone. You pull over, and suddenly your radio seems rather loud. In the absence of road noise, Bon Jovi sounds like he's screaming directly into your ear. The impact of road noise is easily overlooked but certainly significant.


The frequency of road noise is around 1,000 Hz. Researchers have documented road noise as low as 700 Hz and as high as 1,300 Hz.

Tonal Quality

Road noise is a constant tone. Like that of any tone, it has inherent musical properties. If road noise were a musical note, it would be an A, though different roads may sway this into flat or sharp.


Most road noise comes from the sound of tires contacting the road, but the vehicles' engines also play a significant role.

Always There

Road noise is the most frequently experienced sound in Western society. Researchers in many fields are looking into ways to minimize or eradicate it.


Noise pollution is an ever-increasing problem. The negative effects of constant noise have been documented by psychologists worldwide. Knowing the properties of road noise allows researchers and designers to choose materials that counteract the sound and make being on the road a more pleasant experience.

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