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New research carried out by the University of Birmingham has identified new ways of reducing noise, vibration and other environmental impacts associated with railway systems.   

Researchers assessed the effectiveness of various mitigation measures designed to reduce noise and vibration. They did so by measuring how successful an intervention was at reducing noise or vibration and calculating the financial and environmental costs of the intervention over the lifetime of the project.

To get the best trade-off between effectiveness and costs, rail managers and engineers are encouraged to apply a whole life-cycle assessment and to consider each project on a case-by-case basis.

The research highlighted the trade-offs between how successful an intervention is at reducing noise or vibration and the economic and environmental costs it entails. For example, buried walls are more effective at reducing ground vibration than cheaper and more environmentally friendly measures, such as digging trenches.  

The project was led by Dr Sakdirat Kaewunruen, Senior Lecturer in Railway and Civil Engineering at the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education. Dr Kaewunruen is also coordinator for the European Commission’s Rail Infrastructure Systems Engineering Network (RISEN), which aims to enhance knowledge creation and transfer across Europe’s railway infrastructure systems.