Is the noise still going on?

Predicting repeat noise complaints with historical time course and random forest classifiers

Image credit: Author


Noise can have serious adverse effects on residents’ physical and mental health. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Westminster in London has seen a continuous increase in noise complaints, with a significant number of repeat complaints from the same address within a short time scale. The authorities’ ability to respond to complaints is challenged. This study explores a method for predicting and identifying repeat complaints to improve the efficiency of the authorities in dealing with noise complaints. Taking the noise complaint records of the City of Westminster during 2018–2022 as research objects, the research explores the cumulative distribution characteristics and clustering pattern of noise complaints in different spatial and temporal dimensions. On this basis, for a noise complaint from a specific address, the study fits random forest classifiers to predict whether the same address is likely to have another noise complaint in future time scales. It is found that about 18.5% of all complaints had at least one previous complaint at the same address in the previous 7 days; during the lock-down period caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, areas with active commercial activities and higher housing prices experienced a significant decrease in complaints, while areas adjacent to parks and green spaces can share a similar upward trend in noise complaints. Prediction of repeat noise complaints with random forest classifiers is proved feasible. F1 scores of models to predict repeat complaints within 0 to 2nd days, 0 to 7th days and 0 to 30th days in the future are 0.55, 0.66 and 0.75, respectively. Suggestions are provided for local authorities to improve resource allocation related to noise complaint management.

Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science
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