Silence is Golden: Railroad Noise Pollution and Property Values

27 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2015 Last revised: 25 Jan 2016

Jay K. Walker

Old Dominion University - Economics

Date Written: January 17, 2016


Using a unique cross sectional dataset of property values with manually collected noise measurements in Memphis, Tennessee, hedonic regression is used to estimate the impact of train noise pollution on commercial and residential property values. Results show a residential property being located within the 65 decibel contour from the railroad noise origin results in a decrease of 13 percent in assessed property value, although when accounting for property location when within the 65 decibel noise contour distance becomes insignificant. More exact measures of noise levels and utilizing GIS versus simple proximity may be a better approach for estimating impacts. Neither rail proximity nor noise level significantly affect commercial property values.

Keywords: property value, railway noise pollution, externalities

JEL Classification: D6, D62, R32

Suggested Citation

Walker, Jay K., Silence is Golden: Railroad Noise Pollution and Property Values (January 17, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Jay K. Walker (Contact Author)

Old Dominion University - Economics ( email )

Norfolk, VA 23529
United States


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