California high speed rail project train impression

USA: Ricardo has completed a study for the Federal Railroad Administration which aims to improve the accuracy of comparisons of global high speed rail noise reduction standards and their costs.

The report, High Speed Rail: Cost of Compliance for Noise Mitigation Procedures, has now been published by FRA.

The study focused on the development of an analytical tool to enable global standards and regulations to be compared more consistently and accurately when assessing noise mitigation methods between different jurisdictions.

The study was prompted by an earlier research report commissioned by FRA in 2016 that outlined how attempts at direct comparisons of global noise regulations and standards for rail applications around the world had been complicated by variations in sound level measurement procedures, such as location selection, microphone position and train operating conditions.

The tool developed by Ricardo can be used to determine, for example, how a trainset that complies with European Technical Specifications for Interoperability performs against US or Japanese regulations.

Ricardo was also asked to demonstrate how the tool could help the US rail industry compare the costs of various noise mitigation technologies used around the world.

More than 70 different options that could be adopted in the USA were assessed before the modelling was applied in more detail to two representative routes of similar length in North America — the Northeast Corridor and the planned California High Speed Rail line.

The analysis revealed that the same mitigation methods would end up costing five times more on the Northeast Corridor than in California, mostly due to the higher population density of the impacted zone on NEC.