Health effects of vibrations due to trains

Invited paper

Irene Van Kamp


Monday 1 june, 2015, 18:20 - 18:40

0.4 Brussels (189)

In the Netherlands circa 845.000 residential addresses, with some 1.347.400 residents of 16 years and older, are located within 300 meter distance to a railroad track. About twenty percent of these residents experience severe annoyance from vibrations caused by trains. They complain about feelings of irritation, anger and discomfort. At night this annoyance can manifest itself in severe sleep disturbance. By far the largest part of annoyance and sleep disturbance is reported in relation to vibrations due to cargo-trains. Some 28% people live at addresses along the railroad where vibration can be perceived, but vibrations lie below the limit value of 3,2 mm per second Vmax. For almost 2% of the 16 years and older this limit value is exceeded, a level considered as extremely high. A large part of annoyance and sleep-disturbance is found below this limit value. Because it concerns a large number of residents, much health gain can be achieved here. It is therefore important that policy also aims at levels of vibration below the maximum threshold. Factors which amplify the annoyance on top of the vibration strength are e.g.fear of damage to the home, expectations that the level of vibration will increase in the future and attitudes towards policymaking. The health effects of vibration due to trains have rarely been studied among residents. In order to gain more insight in the type and size of these effects and in whom these do occur, a questionnaire survey was held among 4927 people living within 300 meters from a railroad track in the Netherlands. This paper will report on this study with a focus on annoyance, sleep and wellbeing at the outcome side and the interplay between noise and vibration at exposure level.

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