Strategies and Tools to Assess and Implement noise Reducing measures for Railway Systems

Project information

  • Acronym: STAIRRS
  • Strategies and Tools to Assess and Implement noise Reducing measures for Railway Systems
  • Project start date: 01/01/2000
  • Project end date: 31/12/2002
  • Funded under FP5-GROWTH
  • Project coordinator: Stichting European Rail Research Institute
  • Grant agreement: G2RD-CT-1999-10442

Project description

The STAIRRS proposal was submitted in response to the EU´s 5th Framework Programme "Sustainable Mobility and Intermodality: Competitive and Sustainable Growth", where the need was identified for a study to assess the relative effectiveness, benefits and costs of a number of railway noise mitigation options applied to vehicles or track.

The outcome of the project was to provide a cost benefit software tool to assess various noise mitigation strategies, to provide measurement methodologies to enable characterization of railway vehicles and railway track separately and to develop a consensus between legislators, railway operators, railway infrastructure managers and the railway supply industry on the means of balancing the environmental needs of the Community with the noise mitigation options available and the costs of their implementation.

The conclusions of the project was as following:

  • The most efficient noise mitigation step to take is to ensure that freight trains have smooth wheels. By itself however it does not achieve sufficient noise reduction to achieve targets being placed on the railways and must be supplemented by further measures taken on wheels and tracks.
  • A combination of smooth wheels, rail absorbers and optimised wheels is more effective than the use of noise barriers, even when 4 m high, at a lower cost.

A series of workshops were held within the project with the following conclusions:

  • Pressure from the implementation of noise creation legislation for railways is essential step for reducing noise levels. It was recognized, however, that some change to the EU funding policies would be needed so that where it was shown to be cost effective, financial support should be given to noise mitigation at source instead of it being used to construct of line side noise barriers.
  • Application of operational constraints, even locally, in order to reduce noise is not consistent with the commercial requirements of railway operation particularly whilst attempting to fulfill the objective of transferring traffic from road to rail and needing to maintain competitive with respect to road transport.


STAIRRS - Final Report - 2003

- PDF - 1.5 Mb

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Saturday 1 January 2000