Noise and vibration technical advice

The railways are essential in tackling climate change and are the frontrunner in the transport sector in terms of meeting the ambitious goals of the European Green Deal. The global rail community will continue to develop its work and maintain its position to further reduce its environmental footprint. As one of the greenest transport modes, the railways shall be promoted to achieve climate goals at global level.

Noise is a critical environmental aspect of the railways, and noise-related issues must be addressed if rail traffic is to be promoted. As a result of efforts to eliminate such problems on the railways, there is growing concern about ground-borne vibrations and their effect on people living near railway networks. The European railways will continue to lead international efforts on noise and vibration issues, focusing on:

  • solving environmental problems,
  • examining their impact on human health and
  • promoting the implementation of ambitious environmental, climate and energy policies worldwide.

Project information

  • Acronym: NOVITÀ
  • NOise and VIbration Technical Advice
  • Project Director: Lucie Anderton
  • Project Manager: Pinar Yilmazer
  • Status: Ongoing project

NOVITÀ project is a follow-up to the Noise Technical Advice project (2018-2021) and aims to represent the global railway sector, including the European region.

Project description

European members of the UIC Noise and Vibration sector have been actively collaborating and supporting each other for many years. Convening this network of noise and vibration experts allows members to define shared goals, showcase best practice and identify cost-effective solutions. The NOVITÀ project will expand to all regions with the aim of spreading this initiative and will create a global dialogue to integrate sustainability into railway operations, with the railways aiming to be a good neighbour. Under the auspices of the Sustainability Platform, the project will provide a global platform to forge links with researchers, other international associations, policymakers and the supply chain.

The UIC Noise and Vibration Sector promotes effective management of railway noise and vibration in the context of sustainable development. Working groups in this Sector form a centre of excellence, with the Sector supporting transfer of knowledge, coordinating events and activities, leading research projects and facilitating communication with key stakeholders. Moreover, UIC and its members work in close cooperation with other railway organisations, the European Commission and national authorities.

UIC Noise and Vibration Sector - scoping studies

Members of the Sector have already identified the following priority issues that require global understanding for urgent action from 2022:

  • Nuisance and health effects of railway noise:
    Most of the European regulations on transport noise are based on equivalent sound pressure levels averaged over a long period of time. It has been proven that transport noise levels are directly correlated with the impact of such noise on human health, life expectancy and amenity. Although railways respect the regulatory thresholds in terms of equivalent noise levels, an increasing number of noise-related complaints are being made. The results show contradictions in the relationship between the indicators used to describe railway noise and the perceived disturbance values. In order to solve this problem, railways should analyse the noise problem correctly and associate it with complaints received. UIC and its members are thus keen to begin the process of knowledge exchange and data analysis globally in order to implement efficient solutions and to eliminate this incompatibility with the data. Moreover, such exchange of information at global level will help government authorities to better analyse and adopt relevant indicators when improving their regulations.
  • Management of noise from parked and stationary trains:
    The aim of this project is to update knowledge, aligning with international standards on noise and nuisance from idling and stationary trains. Potential steps should be taken before any legal restrictions are imposed by government authorities. As a first step, UIC and its members are planning to collect existing measurement results and suggest a way to proceed (e.g. dedicated measurements, contact with industry, etc.).

The surveys designed for the various studies are open to all interested participants; please do not hesitate to share your responses with UIC.

  • Vibration
    The annoyance caused by vibration and related complaints in railways have increased in recent years as a result of efforts made to reduce noise values. Members are keen to continue sharing information within UIC’s working group. Best practices will be gathered through consultation with experts using desktop research, literature review, online questionnaires and direct interviews with members.

Project objectives

  • Spread the initiative to all regions,
  • Provide a global platform to forge links,
  • Create a global dialogue to integrate sustainability into railway operations and infrastructure,
  • Be a good neighbour.



Nuisance and Health Impacts of Railway Noise

- PDF - 2.8 Mb

Noise from parked and stationary trains: An analysis of operational and technical solutions

- PDF - 4.3 Mb


UIC contact

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Wednesday 26 January 2022