Noise pollution in Cities Skylines

In Cities Skylines the pollution system and its sources is very detailed. We can talk about garbage, water, but today we are primarily interested in noise. In this article, I will show you how does noise pollution work and what small changes you can do to improve your current situation.

In the image below, you can see an example of a city with noise pollution problems. On a special map you can see the “noise pollution” section.

Noise pollution in an ordinary city

As you can see, the noise pollution is almost everywhere on the map. In Cities Skylines, main sources of noise pollution are heavy traffic, commercial zones, industrial zones and unique buildings. Everything mentioned can be seen on the map above.

  • First source of noise pollution – Mall of Moderation (unique building)
  • Second source – high traffic in resident zones
  • Third source – main road with commercial zones and roads leading to them.

In the bottom right corner you can see the highway, which also causes noise pollution (because of the traffic of course).

Typical sources of noise pollution

The first thing to do to reduce noise pollution is to identify where the source is and take some steps to prevent it. There are 4 basic steps you could do to reduce noise pollution, namely:

  • Use noise reducing roads
  • Better zone planning
  • Use districts and policies
  • Optimize public transport

In other parts of the article, we will look at noise pollution step by step.

Noise reducing roads

In the beginning you can use only “Two-lane roads” and “Four-lane roads”. They are simply good to start with. However, in the long-run, their level of noise reduction is not enough. It just means that some types of roads in Cities Skylines have noise reducing abilities.

These two roads have decorative trees which are something like a natural barrier to noise pollution. Getting these advanced roads can potentially upgrade your actual layout which will then reduce the level of noise pollution.

Four-lane roads with decorative trees are a good choice

In the image below, you can see a part of my city just after I replaced basic roads with roads with decorative trees. The noise pollution was reduces almost immediately. It is not eliminated but it is still reduced significantly.

Pollution reduction experiment

In the later phases of the game, when you will get high density zones, this will be a good quick solution to your noise pollution problems. The table below lists the best types of roads to use in Cities Skylines to reduce noise pollution:

Type of roadsWhich are best for reduce pollution
Small roadsTwo-lane roads with trees
Two-lane roads with median trees
Medium roadsFour-lane roads with decorative trees
Large avenue with grass
Large roadsSix-lane roads with decorative trees
Six-lane roads with median trees
HighwaysAll with sounds barriers


Another good way to optimize your noise pollution situation is to think carefully about your zones tactics. The main source of noise pollution in Cities Skylines are high density commercial zones. So if you build them near residential zones, there may be problems with the satisfaction of your residents.

For that reason, it is good to make some space between these zones. If you plan to build a big city, try to consider implementing parks or trees. These can help reduce noise from commercial zones. In the later phase of the game, I usually build commercial zones near office zones so everyone can just walk home from the office and back through the commercial zone.

I recommend building commercial zones in the centre of your city. After that, it is good to build office zones and after them residential zones. To connect these zones directly, you can use parks or sidewalks.


Polices is another way to reduce noise pollution. There is a Heavy traffic ban policy that you can use to ban heavy traffic within your district. However, be careful. This policy will lead to deliveries with more vans, so traffic will also increase.

Heavy traffic ban in Cities Skylines

Or if you have the After Dark DLC activated, then you can use Old Town Policy. This puts the city in a mode where only people who work or live in a particular zone can use the cars. And of course it is again about the supplying. Another option for you can be NIMBY, which leads to closing buildings for the night.

Alternatively, you could use a combination of Combustion Engine Ban and Electric Cars. This means that all your residents will switch to electric cars. This will increase the demand for electricity and diesel cars will not pass in the district. Electric cars are significantly quieter.

Public transport

And the last one is public transport. It is obvious that public transport generates noise. According to that, it may be a good strategy to reduce budget and intervals at night to reduce noise. On the other side, it would probably be a bad strategy to build big transport hubs in the centre of your resident zones. The same can be said for connecting your zones to crossing busses.

Keep public transport on the main routes and work carefully to avoid traffic jams or illogical lines. In one district, there can be only one busway in a district to connect residents to other districts. The same applies to more complex modes of public transportation.

Because of that, build Cargo public transport like boars or trains far from the city. Take for example industrial zones (Orange). They make a lot of noise and you don’t want them close to your residents.

Last tips with trees

In dev diaries about ParkLife DLC in 2018, I wrote:

As a part of the free update we have redone the logic for tree props, like in real life the tree will now reduce Noise Pollution!

To achieve this the system will calculate the density of tree in an area and create heat map based on that data. Places that have higher concentration of tree will have more pronounced effect.

So if you build a lot of trees around high sources of noise, everything will be ok. As I mentioned above with roads, trees reduce the noise. In the image below you can see that one part of highway has sound barriers (these remove all noise pollution) and the other part with trees doesn’t work much better than the part without trees.

To learn something about districts in Cities Skylines, use our district guide.

Tips to solve problems in Cities Skylines

Hardest problems guides not enough customers and not enough goods to sell

Complicated problems could be also with overeducated workers which cause abandoned buildings

How to make money in Cities Skylines and how to get out of debt quickly

Tips to increasing population and understanding how increase residential demand

What is land value and why you need to focus to get happy citizens

To play on bigger map you need unlock more tiles and inside I show how to use full maps

Also you should have problems with power outages and with traffic with which we could also help

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I'm Martin, the main creator of this site. I love city builders, transport, and war strategy games. So I create this site to share my love with others! Let's make Tycoon games great again!