The WHO recently published a report suggesting that as many as 3% sufferers of ischaemic heart disease in Europe (typically strokes and heart attacks) died prematurely as a result of noise. That translates in 210000 deaths a year world wide. New Scientist magazine (27 Aug. 2007) quotes John Millet of the American EPA as saying "It was clear to us in the 1980s and before that noise pollution was serious and reaises stress levels, and causes a wider array of health issues inclding cardiovascular impacts, blood pressure, even heart attacks to those who are susceptible. There is no funding for noise pllution at the US EPA." It's Office of Noise Abatement and Control was closed down in the 1980s. Responsibility has shifted downwards to states and cities.
So what's your city, and your planning department specifically doing about noise? Is it effective? How do sound barriers fit into the picture and has anyone come up with an aesthetically decent sound barrier?