Noise Is New York City's Biggest Civic Complaint. Researchers Are Trying To Help Turn It Down

Click on the red arrow next to the headline to listen to Here & Now's Robin Young talk to SONYC research scientist Mark Cartwright and postdoctoral researcher Graham Dove.

New York's biggest civic complaint is noise. And though the city's sounds are part of what makes life there unique, too much of it can be dangerous — affecting hearing, stress levels and more. Now, a team of researchers at NYU, in collaboration with Ohio State University, are undertaking an initiative to learn how much noise there is, and what is causing it. The project called Sounds Of New York City (SONYC) involves placing sensors around the city to record 10-second sound clips. The audio is uploaded onto a website where citizen scientists can help identify them. SONYC also relies on artificial intelligence, as computers get better and better at identifying the sounds on their own. The goal is to help the city's Department of Environmental Protection mitigate against noise pollution.

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