Environmental noise control

Noise card Osnabrück

Talking about noise control and about noise in general, vibrations are always included and a component of the topic “noise”.

Noise control activities include legislating on noise emission limits for the equipment used in our communities, influencing the location and the construction techniques of new highways and buildings, legislating noise emission limits at property boundaries and regulating aircraft flight procedures.

The most common measurement in environmental noise is the dB(A) level. It can be measured with a simple sound level meter fitted with an A-weighting filter to simulate the subjective response of the human ear. Vibrations are mostly measured in millimetres per second.

On the one hand, noise control activities include ex-ante measures. By using sound-absorbing materials, the effects of an interchange can be reduced widely. On the other hand, by using ex post activities, the influences of noise can be measured and controlled.

The impact of noise has to be considered during the construction and the day-to-day running of an interchange. It is important to recognise noise nuisance or places where noise nuisance is likely to occur in advance. This enables stakeholders to prepare plans for possible complaints concerning such nuisances.

Furthermore, the impact of noise needs to be considered on both passengers and staff within the interchange and on passers-by and the environmental quality of the neighbourhood.

NODES strategic objectiveContribution
Enhance accessibility and integration 0
Enhance intermodality 0
Enhance liveability ++
Increase safety and security conditions 0
Increase economic viability and costs efficiency 0
Stimulate local economy 0
Increase environmental efficiency +
Increase energy efficiency 0

Good practice

Environmental noise control measures are used in many places throughout Germany. They are required to obtain permission to construct a building. German regulations set the use of noise control during the construction and the running of a public structure.


Application in NODES sites


  • during construction, noise was effectively contained by the retained station buildings and was managed by not carrying out noisy works at night
  • during track construction works, an agreement had been made that limited the number of nights on which the noisy works could be carried out in the urban built-up area
  • the noise impact of a new-build depot (the base for a diesel train fleet until December 2016) was reduced by additional 4-metre high noise barriers beside the depot

Potential interchange performance improvement

  • to detect if there is a high noise/vibration pollution/how high the noise/vibration pollution is
  • development of interchanges with low noise/vibration pollution
  • development of sufficient noise/vibration protection for the neighbourhood
  • good noise/vibration climate within the interchange
  • a work schedule can be calculated that can be complied with more easily and with a higher probability


The costs depend on the size of the structure and the actual measures to be implemented. The preparation of a noise calculation can quickly exceed an amount of more than 1000 euros.


“Environmental Noise Measurement”

This booklet answers many of the basic questions about environmental noise criteria and environmental noise measurements.


German emissions protection law (in German): http://www.bmub.bund.de/service/publikationen/downloads/details/artikel/bundes-immissionsschutzgesetz-bimschg/