A focus of the railway industry over the past decades has been to research, find and develop methods to mitigate noise and vibration resulting from wheel/rail contact along track infrastructure. This resulted in a wide range of abatement measures that are available for today’s engineers. The suitability of each method must be analysed through budget and timeframe limitations, which includes building, maintenance and inspection costs and time allocation, while also aiming at delivering other benefits, such as environmental impact and durability of infrastructure. There are several situations that need noise and vibration mitigation methods, but each design allocates different priorities on a case-by-case basis. Traditionally, the disturbance caused by railways to the community are generated by wheel/rail contact sound radiation that is expressed in different ways, depending on the movement of the rolling stock and track alignment, such as rolling noise, impact noise and curve noise. More specifically, in special trackworks such as turnouts (or called “switches and crossings”), there are two types of noise that can often be observed: impact noise and screeching noise. With respect to the screeching (or flanging), its mitigation methods are usually associated with curve lubrications. In contrast, the impact noise emerges from the sound made by the rolling stock moving through joints and discontinuities (i.e., gaps), resulting in various noise abatement features to minimise such noise impact. Life cycle analysis is therefore vital for cost efficiency benchmarking of the mitigation methods. The evaluation is based on available data from open literature and the total costs were estimated from valid industry reports to maintain coherency. A 50-year period for a life cycle analysis is chosen for this study. As for the general parameters, an area with a high density of people is considered to estimate the values for a community with very strict limits for noise and vibration.
Tavares de Freitas, R., & Kaewunruen, S. (2016). Life Cycle Cost Evaluation of Noise and Vibration Control Methods at Urban Railway Turnouts. Environments, 3(4), 34. https://doi.org/10.3390/environments3040034