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I keep getting told that science tells us to use highway sound barriers and trees to reduce noise pollution. The effect that highway sound barriers has is quite immediately obvious but no matter how many trees I plant there never appears to be any noticeable effect on noise pollution.

The Cities: Skylines Wiki states:

A high level of noise pollution reduces land value and citizen happiness. Planting trees and creating roads with trees blocks noise.

This is similar wording to the tutorial tips in game however planting trees seems to have no effect on noise.

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How great is the effect of trees on noise pollution?

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    I think it may be referring to the "decorated" versions of the 2, 4 and 6-lane roads - specifically the versions with trees down the side - as the descriptions of those roads indicate that they reduce noise. That said, I've no idea how effective they are either. – DMA57361 Mar 29 '15 at 19:28
  • The trees you plant are part of the decorations tab, implicitly indicating that their only value is in the aesthetics aspect. Roads with trees however explicitly state they are beneficial for noise pollution. I would wager that only the latter have any effect on noise pollution. – Jeroen Vannevel Mar 29 '15 at 20:00
  • It mentions in the Beginner's Guide on the official Skylines wiki that trees can reduce noise pollution, however true that might be. – Elise Mar 30 '15 at 0:58
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As you figured out "normal" trees do not have an effect on noise pollution.

However roads with trees have ( a little ).

enter image description here

Sorry for the bad picture but you can still see Nr. 3 and 6 from the left.

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Noise pollution is created by traffic, industrial and commercial zones and tourist attractions such as the unique buildings. Smaller roads create less noise pollution and roads with decorative trees create less noise pollution than their tree-less counterparts.

This is a quote from the developers forums, taken from the dev diary. They don't say trees wouldn't help at all, however, they don't say that they would help too.

Considering all these sources, I think that trees don't help to reduce noise pollution. I just tested it myself: Trees didn't help. I don't know why the Wiki says it would be possible although a lot of people say it clearly isn't.

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Mind you, I'm using some mods, but none that specifically state altering the sound rules.

Trees placed around a source of noise will shrink the "high" noise area around 5%. For instance, I planted trees around the exit for a metro station and then started time while watching the noise map. The inner rings of high noise shrunk, the outer rings did not change.

It only took 2 trees planted to get the effect, and more trees than that did nothing. The station was already on a tree-lined street when I tested.

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