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Acoustic Studies

Author: Parsons Brinckerhoff-Tudor-Bechtel
Corporate Author: Parsons Brinckerhoff-Tudor-Bechtel
Corporate Report Number: TR-8
Date of Publication: 1968-06
Pages: 157
PB Number: PB179353


Parsons Brinckerhoff-Tudor-Bechtel (PB-T-B) has conducted noise and vibration studies for the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART). The studies included these activities:

  • Review and research of published data to determine magnitude of noise and vibration levels associated with rapid transit vehicle operations, to predict rank order of noise sources produced by transit car equipment and to make specific plans for measuring sounds and vibrations in the field.
  • Performance of laboratory and field studies to verify predictiions and estimates regarding expected noiise and vibration levels and methods of control
  • Measurements of noise and vibration produced by rapid transit equipment at the BARTY Test Track and elsewhere to determine levels of noise and vibration to be expected, determine the rank order of noise sources, and evaluate specific control features.

This report documents the significant results of the noise and vibration tests that were performed at the BART Test Track and elsewehere.  These tests were performed  primarily by Stanford Reseach institute and by Wilso,, Ihrig and Associates, in their capacity as acoustical consultants to PB-T-B.

Tests were conducted to cover many aspects of noise and vibration generation that could arise in an operating transit system.  These tests were limited by ability to duplicate actual transit operating conditions; it was not possible to duplicate all of the conditions.

Several of the studies involved the investigation of new concepts of noise and vibration control, such as the use of sound barrier walls (often called sound barriers or parapets) along the right-of-way, wheel damping, rail damping, and the use of rail fasteners incorporating vibration-reduction and noise-reduction features.  Considerable effort was expended in determining the rank order of the various important sources of noise produced by steel-wheel vehicles passing over steel rails.

Some of the test results have suggested definite methods of reducing transit system operating noise and vibration; wheel damping and sound barriers fall into this category.  Other tests were either inclusive or provided information showing that a specific method to control noise or vibration is impractical or ineffective.

The results, conclusions, and recommendations contained in this report are expected to provide useful information on noise and vibration testing and control methods directly applicable to other transit systems.

S. Kumar
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