Many essential activities in modern societies cause environmental impacts, including noise. A significant number of residents, particularly those who live close to roads, airports and railway lines, are exposed to noise. Depending on personal attitude and sensitivity, amongst other factors, some of these exposed residents are likely to feel annoyed. Annoyance can have various grades from moderately annoyed to highly annoyed. After a long period of being annoyed, some of the annoyed citizens may experience more serious effects (e.g. high blood pressure). Environmental noise, including railway noise, therefore represents a significant risk to the health of those citizens who are exposed to high noise levels.
Plans for new and upgraded railway lines, as well as growth of traffic on existing lines, sometimes causes strong adverse reactions from residents due to concerns about increased noise. Recently the same response occurs sometimes in relation to expected ground borne vibrations from railway lines. Although rail is widely acknowledged to be the transport mode with the lowest environmental impact, noise and vibration remain an important issue for the European rail sector.
In the past decades a range of noise mitigating measures has been developed and introduced, complemented by further significant improvements thanks to modernization of the rail system. For example: jointed track has almost completely been replaced by welded track; disk brakes have been introduced in modern passenger rolling stock; K-brake blocks have been introduced in new wagons. Installation of noise barriers and sound proof façades is common at sites with high noise exposures. [...]
|Author||Paul de Vos|