Photo credit: Nguyen Tran from Pexels

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

Railtech.com reports that as part of the Noise and Emissions Monitoring and Radical Mitigation research project, devices to assess noise signals from passing trains will be installed on rails and along the tracks near the Dutch town of Susteren. These sensors will enable researchers to identify the sounds emitted from passing wagons. The NEMO project, funded by the European Commission, was established to measure and assess vehicle noise. A demonstration project was set up in Rotterdam to “identify particularly noisy and polluting vehicles.” Similar projects are planned in Florence, Italy and Madrid, Spain to measure sounds emitted from road traffic.

The Railtech.com article describes proposals to assess noises emitted from trains and road vehicles but does not mention potential actions that could be taken to reduce these noises. There also is no discussion in this article about the impact of transportation noises on nearby residents. As someone who conducted research the impact of elevated train noise on children attending school near an elevated structure over forty years ago, I know that such noises impact negatively on learning. In response to my study on the adverse effect of elevated train noise, the New York City transit authority installed rubber resilient pads on the tracks to reduce the passing train noise. This abatement, plus the installation of acoustic ceilings in the classrooms, reduced the noise in the classrooms and resulted in improved reading scores for the children. The transit agency then adopted a program to install these pads along the entire elevated track system.

While the residents in the above towns are probably pleased to learn that the noises impacting on their lives are being attended to with respect to assessment, I expect that they would like to know that remedies to lessen these noises will be in place in the very near future.