UIC as coordinator of the RIVAS (Railway Induced Vibration Abatement Solutions) project and the RIVAS consortium partners welcomed over 70 participants in Madrid on 14 September to the first seminar on “Vibrations - Annoyance, Acceptance and Assuming the challenge to find solutions” hosted by the Centre for Research and Experimentation of Public Works (CEDEX), attached to both the Spanish Ministry of Public Works and the Ministry of Environment.
Rivas is a collaborative rail research project under 7th Framework Programme for EU research (FP7) with 26 partners from all over Europe working together. Noise and vibrations have a huge impact on citizens’ lives and working near railways lines, and as rail traffic is set to increase in future, annoyance levels will increase accordingly. Roger Müller from Swiss railway operator SBB pointed out that railways should be a good neighbour for residents and therefore proper measures to reduce these annoyances need to be found. In this regard, RIVAS is a good step to reduce ground-borne vibrations in the European rail network and fulfil the aforesaid goal.
Existing common methodologies to measure and assess ground-borne vibrations and their impact on residents near railway lines were presented, along with concrete implementable solutions for vibration mitigation measures as RIVAS aims to go beyond scientific deliverables and to provide a toolbox to improve the quality of life near railway lines.
Outcomes of the European research project Innotrack also led by UIC, which aims to tackle issues in the important area of track and substructure, is exploited by RIVAS in terms of identification of track parameters for optimising mitigation measures.
The rolling stock can also be a source of ground-borne vibrations. This is why an advanced design of rolling stock was presented by European rolling stock manufacturers, which can play an important role to find holistic solutions to mitigate vibrations in the railway system.
The seminar concluded with an outlook on the next steps to be taken and the partner’s common goal outlined. By 2050 the European railways will strive towards noise and vibrations no longer being considered a problem for the railways and its neighbours – meaning that noise levels are socially and economically acceptable and allow for 24-hour passenger and goods operations. This sounds highly ambitious but the RIVAS partners were clearly committed in Madrid to “putting railways on the right track” to reach this goal.