Silence is Golden: Railroad Noise Pollution and Property Values
This paper uses a unique dataset containing property values and manually collected noise measurements in Memphis, Tennessee to estimate the impact of train noise pollution on commercial and residential property values. Results show that a residential property exposed to 65 decibels or greater of railroad noise results in a 14 to 18 percent decrease in property value. Once a 65 decibel measure is included, there is no additional impact on price of distance to the closest railroad crossing. For commercial property, neither crossing proximity nor noise level significantly affect property value. The results provide evidence of a negative externality that is created by railroad noise for households and the need for more exact measures of noise levels. The findings are also consistent with previous literature suggesting firms have different ideas than individuals about desirable locational attributes.