Noise and Vibrations have been identified as major challenges for the European railway system, with the sector constantly increasing its transport volume. Shifting more transport to rail and increasing the market share of the sector can only be achieved with sustainable noise and vibration mitigation measures. This affects the infrastructure on the one hand and on the other the rolling stock causing the vibration, transmitted by the rail/wheel interaction.
On 2 February 2011 the International Union of Railways, as coordinator, kicked-off the FP 7 project “RIVAS” (Railway Induced Vibration Abatement Solutions) together with 25 partners from across the European railway sector such as train operating companies, infrastructure managers, manufactures, supplier consultancies and associations. The RIVAS project is strongly end-user driven in order to ensure utmost exploitation of results in practice and to prepare an extensive and fast implementation of technical developments.
UIC’s Director-General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux pointed out that RIVAS aims to reduce the environmental impact of ground-borne vibration while safeguarding the commercial competitiveness of the railway sector. For several areas of concern vibration should be reduced to near or even below the threshold of perception. The project’s goal is therefore to provide the tools to solve vibration problems for surface lines by 2013. It therefore aims to contribute to relevant and world leading technologies for efficient control of people’s exposure to vibration and vibration-induced noise caused by rail traffic.
The RIVAS coordinator Bernd Asmussen, seconded from Deutsche Bahn (DB) and highly skilled in the technical field of ground vibration and mitigation measures, will take the lead to ensure RIVAS comes out with directly implementable results for all partners in the rail sector. It has been commonly agreed to share a maximum of information with the public and this of course includes all UIC members.
RIVAS will focus on low frequency vibration from open lines which is a concern mainly for freight traffic. However, it can be anticipated that RIVAS results will also be applicable to suburban, regional and high-speed operations.
Finally, the RIVAS results will contribute to European standards in particular to a harmonisation of metrics.
UIC and UNIFE will be jointly responsible for the dissemination of results. Enno Wiebe, UIC, responsible for dissemination, exploitation and training, underlined that the dissemination will increase stakeholders’ awareness of the subject of vibrations and provide substantial information for ongoing discussions between the railways and political institutions as well as residents affected by vibrations near railway lines. The RIVAS project and objectives will be promoted on different levels and in different ways. The main aim is to increase positive awareness of the subject of vibrations for political institutions, different parts of society (particularly residents near railway lines) and railway experts. This includes providing proper definitions for further discussions and clarifying prejudices and common falsities.
The key deliverables of the RIVAS project are:
- Mitigation measures for ballasted and slab track
- Guidelines for the design of transmission mitigation measures under/next to the track
- Guidelines for the design of low vibration vehicles
- Assessment of the benefits of mitigation measures in terms of human response and agreed protocol for the evaluation of annoyance and exposure to vibration
- Agreed measurement protocols to assess and monitor the performance of anti-vibration measures
- Agreed protocol to characterise vibration response properties of soils
- Guidelines for maintenance of track and vehicles for low vibration
After the kick-off meeting the partners showed their clear commitment to the next steps in order to fulfil the ambitious goals that had been set. RIVAS will be disseminated through a project website, various seminars and conferences and regularly presented at the UIC platforms.