Assessment of noise from rail infrastructure projects
Greater reliance on rail transport is an expected and desirable outcome of government policies that aim to improve air quality and transport planning, and integrate land-use planning. The rail system can play a vital part in efforts to achieve sustainable cities and preserve the environment.
The benefits of rail are clear: less fuel used for transport and lower greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution as a result, reduced road congestion and better safety. On the debit side, however, noise from rail operations (including vibration) can have adverse effects on residents living near rail lines, often disturbing their sleep, causing stress and annoyance, and interfering with talking and hearing in general.
This interim guideline is designed to ensure that potential noise impacts associated with the ongoing expansion of rail developments are assessed in a consistent and transparent manner. It addresses noise and vibration from new rail infrastructure projects and does not cover impacts from existing rail operations.
The guideline proposes noise 'trigger' levels which, if likely to be exceeded by new rail development, will require an assessment of potential noise and vibration impacts and consideration of mitigation measures to ameliorate those impacts.
The guideline was released in 2007 and has been trialled since then. The interim guideline has been reviewed and a final guideline will be issued when the consultation on the Draft rail infrastructure noise guideline is completed.
Contents of the interim guideline
Noise and vibration trigger levels
Assessment of noise and vibration impacts
Appendix I: Comparison of airborne noise levels for rail operations – national and international
Glossary of terms
References and further reading
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Page last updated: 21 May 2013