How Far Should You Live From A Highway?

Answer for "How far should you live from a highway?"

Johane  C. Thomas real estate agent
  Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc.

You have probably heard a lot of good things about living near a highway, but also things that made you reconsider your options. Maybe the noise of passing cars is too much to bear if you are living too close, or maybe you just care about being near a highway because of the accessibility. But the question that really matters is how close is too close? How far should you live from a highway? Let’s find out.

As you might’ve heard, cars cause pollution, and on a highway, there is a lot of traffic, therefore the level of pollution is higher in the proximity of a highway. Similar to living near an airport where you might experience health issues because of airplane pollution, in the same way, car pollution can cause health issues in the long term. In this case, how far does roadway pollution travel before it drops to a safer level? Well, it depends on a few things, wind direction, the type of road, or the type of pollution. But, roughly a study suggests that you would need to go about 0.3 miles away from the road in order for the pollution level to drop by about 50%.

Of course, there are pros and cons to living near a highway, but the closer you are it becomes important that you consider the quality of air. If you are not living in one of the cities with the best air quality, you might want to consider investing in ventilation systems with good air filters and air-cleaning devices. California air quality regulators state that there is a 500-foot zone on the outside perimeter of the highway where it is unhealthy to put a home and this zone extended to 1,000 feet based on weather conditions, traffic, and so on.

Also, it is important to note that ultrafine particle pollution from vehicles as well as noise pollution can be reduced with physical objects that stand between your home and the highway. Things such as a sound barrier and/or trees can really help disperse the pollutants and improve the air quality near the highway. Also, it is recommended to live in homes that are either elevated above the highway or that sit below it. A vertical separation can also help disperse pollutants, resulting in cleaner air.

However, you might feel about living near a highway, you should know that there are quite a few advantages that come with it.


Need help from a real estate agent?

Buy Sell Rent

I agree to receive FREE real estate advice.

Are you a realtor and want to become a member?

Residential Rental Commercial

I agree to receive FREE real estate advice.


Have a question or comment? We're here to help.


*** Your email address will remain confidential.

Related Real Estate Questions


Related Real Estate Glossary Terms