Comparative field studies on the effects of railway and road traffic noise

Evy Öhrström
A Gidlöf-Gunnarsson
Mikael Ögren
T Jerston

To provide additional knowledge on the long term effects of railway and road traffic noise socio-acoustic surveys were performed in two residential areas exposed to road traffic noise (highway and major roads) and two areas exposed to railway noise (124 trains per day). Results were obtained for 974 individuals exposed to comparative sound levels ranging from LAeq,24h 45 to 65 dB. Road traffic caused significantly more noise annoyance than railway traffic, however, the difference decreased somewhat at higher sound levels above LAeq,24h 60 dB. For Lden the difference in annoyance between the two noise sources was larger and the difference increased at higher sound levels. At all sound levels, road traffic noise caused more disturbances of rest/relaxation (LAeq,24h) and sleep quality (Lnight) but less disturbance of conversation than railway noise. It was concluded that noise from railway traffic overall causes less adverse health effects than road traffic noise, in cases with a relatively moderate number of trains per day.

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