By CECILIA PADILLA-BRILL
Brendan Farrell and his wife were apartment hunting in Los Angeles a year ago. Although it was relatively easy to research crime and walkability statistics for L.A. neighborhoods, Farrell realized there was no way to determine just how noisy a neighborhood could be. So Brendan, an applied mathematician and former instructor at CalTech who lives in Silver Lake, applied his skills and expertise to the development of HowLoud, Inc., a recently launched online service that can provide information on neighborhood noise. A patent application was submitted for the technology. HowLoud is available in Los Angeles and Orange counties for now.
Why did you create How Loud?
I created HowLoud because I was looking for a new apartment and could not find any information available on how loud different locations are. I previously lived in an apartment where I could hear a 24-hour car wash running late at night. At 10 or 11 p.m. in the summer, I could hear the hoses going on and off, and it was really annoying. I thought a site should exist that allows people to find out if the apartment they are considering is near such noise sources.
How does How Loud work?
A user just goes to our page, HowLoud.net, and enters a residential address in Los Angeles County, hits enter, and our information and map appear. The Soundscore for the address is the overall noise level, with numbers in the 30s and 40s being really loud, and then the 80s and 90s being very quiet. The Soundscore takes into account vehicle traffic, airplane traffic and local sources like schools, restaurants, car repair shops etc. There is no registration and no cost for people to use it.
What training/education do you have to start this venture?
I have a PhD in Applied Mathematics from UC Davis, and spent five years after that as a researcher in applied math and electrical engineering. Our work involves a lot of mathematical computation and data analysis.
How loud is where you live?
I’ve lived in Silver Lake for four years. My house and most of my neighborhood has Soudscores in the 50s or moderate noise. I hear traffic from the big street [Hyperion] just a hundred yards away. Even late at night or early in the morning, I can still hear traffic there. Just one parallel street further from the main road is a lot quieter.
What’s does the future have in store for How Loud?
We want to get users interest and support and then expand as quickly as possible. We want everyone in the country to be able to look up an address and get really useful information before they rent an apartment or stay at an Airbnb.
Cecilia Padilla Brill is a communications writer and journalist. She writes news, health, education and feature stories. Cecilia is currently working on her first novel. She has lived in Echo Park since 1999
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