NOise and VIbration Technical Advice

Project information

  • Acronym: NOVITÀ
  • NOise and VIbration Technical Advice
  • Sector: Sustainability
  • Project start date: 01/01/2024
  • Duration: 48 months
  • Project director: Pınar Yilmazer
  • Project manager: Lorenzo Franzoni
  • Status: ongoing project
  • Project code: 2024/SUS/827

Project description

The environmental impact of pollutants is a global issue, extending beyond the boundaries of individual states or regions. As such, tackling climate change requires a collective effort. Railways play a crucial role in this endeavor, serving as a leading mode of transport in meeting the ambitious climate goals set by the United Nations. However, railways are also the second most significant noise pollutant in the transport sector, following roads. Noise pollution is the second largest environmental cause of health problems, just after the impact of air pollution. Therefore, addressing the issue of noise and vibration on railways is of paramount importance. This should be supported by well-thought-out, harmonized strategies that contribute to the sector’s drive for good health while achieving climate goals at the global level.

Stakeholders in the rail sector should prioritize the implementation of measures to mitigate noise at its source, paving the way for further innovation and remedial actions in the railway sector. It is essential to recognize that noise is not only a nuisance but also has a significant impact on health. Failing to address noise pollution could reduce the railway’s environmental advantage in the transport sector. National noise action plans should be considered an important pillar of sustainable urban mobility plans. These plans promote the use of more active means of public transport, extending the zero-pollution approach. Strategies for addressing railway noise mainly involve noise barriers and silent freight vehicles, while maintaining smooth tracks and installing low-emission tracks near households. To retain the economic viability of the railways, cost-effective solutions for low-emission tracks must be developed further.

This project aims to provide broad global awareness of the position of the railway sector, developed through global holistic approaches within the UIC Sustainability framework. It will ensure that the progress made on noise and vibration issues in railways is best integrated into international work programs. The UIC Noise and Vibration (NV) Sector has had a longstanding role in promoting the effective management of railway noise and vibration in the context of sustainable development. By engaging in this project, members will join the UIC NV Sector and benefit from long-term experience and technical advice on noise and vibration. They will have the opportunity to support their existing activities on local and national platforms with international activities. The NV Sector will remain a global platform for UIC members to define common goals, showcase best practices, and find cost-effective solutions. It will foster links with other stakeholders such as policymakers, suppliers, organizations, and researchers. The project outcomes aim to guide actual and planned sustainable investments, based on observed and forecasted environmental, societal, and economical challenges.

Project objectives

The influence of noise on practically all United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is significant, as noise is considered both a nuisance and a substantial health risk. Therefore, the topic of noise should be incorporated into strategy documents and action plans for achieving the SDGs. However, the lack of funding to launch the project will pose particular constraints for UIC in how to best raise the issues and developments in the sector. Without sufficient funding, driving the sector on the journey to a net-zero future will not be possible, and the national or regional momentum can only be maintained.

Achieving a voice for UIC’s members on global platforms, which will increase the visibility of its members and identify their priorities on noise and vibration, will be hampered due to these constraints. Additional problems may also arise in organising informal meetings with policymakers and other railway-focused organisations. Facilitating internal meetings for UIC members, closed to other stakeholders, that promote the best exchange of information among participants, may also face challenges. Ensuring adequate funding for the preparation of international technical reports, organisations, and other types of communications will be another hurdle to overcome.

The benefits derived from non-collective efforts will take a long time to take effect. The absence of a coordinated global collaboration and a single voice through inadequate communication can cause members to struggle to participate in global platforms. Therefore, it is crucial to address these challenges and work towards creating a more cohesive and effective approach to noise management in the railway sector.

Project members


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Thursday 30 May 2024