UIC Noise and Vibration Sector

Vibration Working Group survey - 2021 - DEADLINE: MAY 4th


In last years, annoyance caused by vibrations and related complaints on railways has been remarkably increased. In addition, the level of vibration due to railway traffic seems to have an influence on noise annoyance. Whether or not the vibration can be perceived depends on many factors, including distance to the source, speed and type of the traffic, quality of the road or track, type and build-up of the ground, and the construction of the building itself. The annoyance from vibrations on railways is diffucult to predict and the quality of analysis varies depending on the situation and complainants. It has also been found that the increase in complaints, especially from railways, is not always due to the effect of vibration on structures or only to freight trains.


Most countries do not have a comprehensive legal framework to limit or reduce vibration from rail traffic (i.e. prevention and obligation to apply measures in case a limit is exceeded). However, many countries apply directives, guidelines and recommendations which may have an almost similar status under the influence of a growing precedence. Often in these regulations, reference is made to a range of standards, either international or national.

Regardless of the regulatory situation, infrastructure managers may receive complaints about vibration due to current rail operations. For properties close to railways, there are many cases with minor cosmetic damage (small cracks) that are attributed to railways by the residents. Infrastructure managers are often faced with this problem and when the cause cannot be defined with certainty, the suspicion of the public remains. Therefore, railways take residents’ concerns seriously and, where appropriate, will support an assessment and consider mitigation measures.

The challenge is that countires have their own technical standards with different indexes and reference values, especially in the field of annoyance: some of them consider the maximum level of the single pass-by, others take in account the contribution of the number of passing trains, etc.


The aim of this activity is collecting and comparing national/local regulations (if any) and technical standards, in order to identify, if possible, a common approach of this topic, or identifying the differences showing the reasons of different approaches to the problem.


As agreed at the last UIC Noise and Vibration Sector meeting , which was held on February 8th, an online survey is prepared to obtain as much information and experiences on vibrations problems.

UIC attempts to collect information in order to provide a comprehensive and detailed review about the state-of-the-art on vibrations on railways.

Results will be communicated and discussed at the next vibration meeting which will be held on 9 June 2021.


1. Legal framework
2. Technical standards
3. Annoyance
4. Effects of vibration on structures
5. Mitigation of railway vibrations
6. Railway vibrations database

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Wednesday 3 February 2021