Environment status

Traffic noise and quiet areas

Noise can cause health problems and reduced quality of life. Noise in the local environment can lead to increased stress in everyday life and sleep disorders. This can in turn lead to stress-related pain, cardiovascular disease.

Traffic noise from roads and railways

In Oslo, road traffic is the biggest source of noise. While the overall level of traffic noise is decreasing, there is an increase in the number of people that are subjected to noise inside their own home. This increase is mostly due to population growth and densification in the inner city, areas that are already exposed to relatively high levels of noise. However, the noise associated with trams, subways and trains are increasing in prevalence. The reason is mainly due to more frequent departures and arrivals of trams, trains and subways.

Even though the number of noise exposed inhabitants is increasing, the proportion of the population which are exposed to noise is relatively unchanged. The last noise mapping from (2016) showed that 61 % of the population in Oslo are exposed to traffic noise, while 12 % are exposed to noise associated with trains, trams or subways. These residents are exposed to noise levels outside their home that exceed an average of 55dB over a 24 hour period (Lden).

The mapping from 2011 showed that the Districts Grünerløkka, Sagene, Frogner, and St. Hanshaugen were subjected to the largest noise exposure, which is measured by the percentage of the population exposed to traffic/train noise outside their own home.


See graphic presentation for traffic noise

Inhabitants exposed to noise over 24 hours:
The graph shows the percentage of inhabitants in Oslo that are exposed to noise levels outside their home, exceeding 55 dB Lden. Lden is the average sound level over a 24 hours period with a penalty of 5 dB added for the evening hours (19:00 to 22:00), and a penalty of 10 dB added for the nighttime hours (22:00 to 07:00).

See graph showing percentage of inhabitants in Oslo that are exposed to noise over 24 hours (PDF 0,1 MB)


Inhabitants exposed to noise during nighttime:
The graph shows the percentage of inhabitants in Oslo that are exposed to noise levels outside their home exceeding an average 50 dB during nighttime.

See graph showing percentage of inhabitants in Oslo that are exposed to noise during nighttime (PDF 0,1 MB)


Inhabitants especially exposed to noise over 24 hours:
The graph shows the percentage of inhabitants in Oslo that are especially exposed to noise levels outside their home, exceeding 65 dB Lden. Lden is the average sound level over a 24 hours period with a penalty of 5 dB added for the evening hours (19:00 to 22:00), and a penalty of 10 dB added for the nighttime hours (22:00 to 07:00).

See graph showing percentage of inhabitants in Oslo that are especially exposed to noise over 24 hours (PDF 0,1 MB)


Kindergarten and nursing homes exposed to noise over 24 hours:
The graph shows number of kindergarten and nursing homes that are exposed to noise between Lden 55-65 (noise exposed) and over 65 dB (very noise exposed). Lden is the average sound level over a 24 hours period with a penalty of 5 dB added for the evening hours (19:00 to 22:00), and a penalty of 10 dB added for the nighttime hours (22:00 to 07:00). Noise levels used in this graph are measured at the most noise exposed areas of the building.

See graph showing number of kindergarten and nursing homes in Oslo that are exposed to noise (PDF 0,1 MB)

14 designated silent areas in the city

As a measure to reduce the noise exposure the city has established designated silent areas. These areas are facilitated towards recreational activities such as hiking, exercising and playing and should be devoided from noise pollution. These areas include Lysakerelva, Mærradalsbekken, Hoffselva, Frognerelva, Akerselva, Hovinbekken, Alna, Ljanselva, Bygdøy, Ekeberg, Østensjø miljøpark, Hvervenbukta, Akershus festning and Slottsparken.

Approximately half of Oslo’s inhabitants live closer than 500 meters to a designated silent area.

Soundscapes in designated silent areas will be protected and improved

In the municipal master plan it is stated that any new development in close proximity to designated silent areas should be done in way that minimizes the noise impact of these areas. However, monitoring efforts have shown that 12 of the 14 the silent areas have experienced an increased noise exposure from 2006 to 2016, and there is a subsequent 7 % decrease in acreage in these designated silent areas. 

The main reason for this trend is due to increased traffic on existing roads and railways in the period from 2006 to 2016, which in turn may affect designated silent areas differently. If the increase in traffic is small on local roads which previously had less traffic load, the perceived increase of noise in neighbouring silent areas might be negligible.

However, people living in areas with a substantial increase in traffic will most likely experience a noticeable increase of noise. 

See statistics on the noise levels in silent areas

The availability and noise levels of designated silent areas are mapped every 5 years. The next mapping will be done in 2021.


Graphic presentation:
The graph shows the percentage of the area of different designated silent areas that have noise levels less than 55dB Lden. Lden is the average sound level over a 24 hours period with a penalty of 5 dB added for the evening hours (19:00 to 22:00), and a penalty of 10 dB added for the nighttime hours (22:00 to 07:00).

See graph showing different designated silent areas in Oslo with noise levels under 55db (PDF 0,1 MB)