Traffic noise, honking, and urban planning in Amsterdam in 1930

E. Salomons*, K.T. Bijsterveld, A. Traa, M Oegren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Traffic noise was seen as a serious problem around 1930. Cars and trucks were noisier than today, and the horn was used more frequently. This led to loud protests and anti-noise campaigns, which have been discussed by historians in studies of the evolution of traffic noise in the twentieth century. In this article we first describe the situation around 1930 from a historical point of view, and next we present an approximate quantitative assessment of traffic noise around 1930, including horn noise, focusing on the city of Amsterdam. Noise maps of Amsterdam are presented for cars, trucks, and horns in 1930, and for comparison also for cars and trucks in 2012. The noise maps for 1930 are based on detailed traffic data for Amsterdam in 1930, which were derived from two reports published in 1934 and 1940 about an extensive traffic count in Amsterdam in 1930. The traffic count was carried out in the framework of the Amsterdam Expansion Plan of 1934. The results of the traffic noise analysis presented here are discussed in the light of expectations around 1930 about future developments of Amsterdam, as well as in the wider context of sprawling cities after World War II. The results also put today's approach of traffic noise mapping and annoyance assessment in perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-435
JournalNoise Control Engineering Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Cite this