Today railways are considered safe and environmentally friendly mode of transport. However railways are causing major noise problems. Quick actions are needed to reduce noise levels next to busy railway lines to fulfill the requirements according to noise action planning of the European Environmental Noise Directive.
In the last two decades many research projects dealing with railway noise generation and control measures have been completed in Austria as well as the European Union. There is the general conclusion that only reducing noise at the source will create to long-term benefits. Nevertheless, systematic approach on the technical and economic effects when combining different individual measures is missing across Europe. More than that, possible adverse effects of single noise control measures at the source on the Life-Cycle-Costs (LCC) of the railway infrastructure are not considered yet. The degree of implementation of these new developments therefore is very low and the easiest but most expensive option namely building noise barriers still is commonly used.
The main objective of sysBahnLärm is to compile the large knowledge already existing on railway noise mitigation systematically including an assessment on all aspects of non-acoustic effects on railway infrastructure and costs. Within this project additional measurements will be performed only if there is not enough data available.
A handbook “railway noise control” will be the final deliverable of sysBahnLärm covering those aspects:
- Review of existing literature and studies to identify lacks of knowledge,
- A list of all railway noise sources relevant for the assessment of noise reception according to the Austrian railway noise ordinance SchIV and UVP as well as the sources’ subjective annoyance.
- The assessment of all mitigation measures covered with regard to efficiency, the cost-benefit ratio and compatibility with other technical requirements for the track.
The main goal of the handbook “railway noise control” is to provide both railway infrastructure managers and public administration, which has to finance and coordinate noise policy, a sound tool when planning and implementing railway noise reduction. Thus, the decision process for or against a specific measure will be more transparent and economically trace-able. Therefore the handbook “railway noise control” will contribute to the infrastructure optimization processes as a user oriented planning tool.
The project was divided into the following work packages:
- WP1: noise emissions
- WP2: sound propagation
- WP3: noise awareness
- WP4: Cost-benefit analysis
The key findings of the “sysBahnLärm” project can be summarized as following:
- A systematic analysis showed that the usual measure for railway noise reduction, the installation of noise barriers, is very expensive.
- Single measures for noise reduction can only be effective if an optimal interaction within the wheel-rail-system is achieved.
- For an optimal result, a bundle of different measures for rail and vehicle is necessary.
- A cost-efficient and sustainable noise reduction has to consider the source of noise.
- The introduction of the Austrian IBE-L model could be a suitable approach for a systematic noise reduction
Findings of the study are published by a short presentation (German only) which is available online via the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT):