ACOUTRAIN will simplify and improve the acoustic certification process of new rolling stock, in particular relating to the TSI Noise. Today the need of conformity assessment for a new vehicle according to the TSI Noise represents a significant element of both cost and time to market due to the need to carry out expensive and time consuming tests.
The goal of the proposed project is to speed up the product authorisation by introducing some elements of virtual testing while retaining the same degree of reliability and accuracy. A successful simplification of the TSI conformity assessment process would result in a strengthening of the competitiveness of the European railway sector. The risk of not developing such a simplification would be that the expense of excessive certification of new products could hamper the introduction of new innovations.
The major outcome of the ACOUTRAIN project will be a new certification process including some elements of virtual testing. This will be ready for inclusion in the next full revision of the TSI Noise, planned in 2013. The R&D work program will be implemented with the following objectives:
- WP1: establishment of procedures for a virtual certification of acoustic performances of freight and passenger trains;
- WP2: an improvement and harmonization of the rolling noise characterization process;
- WP3: establishment of methodologies to measure other noises sources;
- WP4: a methodology to validate global tools for pass-by noise and standstill noise predictions so that they can be used as part of future certification; and;
- WP5: a validation of the procedure range for the virtual noise certification. A significant part of the project is dedicated to the relationship with the Notify Bodies and Authorities to ensure that the objectives of the project are well connected with their expectations.
Noise certification to make railway vehicles quieter
EU researchers are developing a new noise certification process for freight and passenger trains. Quieter trains are better for the environment, particularly for people living close to railway lines.
Rail travel has a long history of noise control. However, in order to meet the EU's Technical Specification for Interoperability (TSI) on noise, each new railway vehicle must be subjected to necessary but expensive and time-consuming tests.
In order to reduce these costs, the acoustic certification process of new rolling stock needs to be simplified and improved. This was the aim of the http://www.acoutrain.eu/ (ACOUTRAIN) (Virtual certification of acoustic performance for freight and passenger trains) project, funded by the EU.
The project aimed to speed up product authorisation by introducing virtual testing features while retaining the same degree of reliability and accuracy of real-life testing. ACOUTRAIN also worked on harmonising the assessment of noise conformity across Europe by providing standard procedures.
Project members proposed specific procedures for a simplified method of noise certification and described them with flow charts. These charts indicate the steps required to check if the noise levels of new railway rolling stock are lower than or equivalent to those of a reference and certified vehicle.
In addition, ACOUTRAIN developed a virtual testing simulation tool for stationary and pass-by noise levels. It also worked on validating and verifying both the tools and methods in order to assign them acoustic source strengths. The team then pointed out more work that needed to be done in this area, highlighting the need to produce a cost-benefit analysis of different virtual testing scenarios in the future.
It will take time to introduce virtual testing into the TSI noise certification procedure and for it to gain wide acceptance. Once adopted, however, virtual testing is expected to achieve significant savings in cost and time, enhancing citizens' safety and comfort thanks to the certification of new, quieter railway vehicles.