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Infrastructure - acoustics, noise and vibration

Photo: Tao Lytzen

More than 25 per cent of the population in Europe are exposed to noise levels exceeding guidelines for road traffic noise

COWI has more than 30 years of experience dealing with traffic noise control and cost effective noise and vibration control measures. We handle noise and vibration issues from road traffic, railways, aircrafts and harbours.

Road traffic noise

Road traffic is a major contributor to environmental noise, particular in urban areas. More than 25 per cent of the population in Europe are exposed to noise levels exceeding guidelines for road traffic noise. Therefore the EU and national governments have had noise on the agenda for many years. COWI has been involved since 1979 when the first noise mitigation projects were introduced.

We are an experienced partner in connection with:

  • Noise mapping of the road network and action plans 
  • Noise mapping and evaluation of noise in connection with environmental impact assessment studies 
  • Detailed calculations of noise during planning of new roads and new residential areas along existing roads 
  • Noise mitigation for example in connection with optimisation of noise barriers and evaluation of the need for better sound insulation of building facades.

Measurement of road traffic noise

We use the noise calculation programme SoundPLAN and CadnaA to calculate road traffic noise. Results are presented in an easily accessible form using coloured noise contour maps. We offer easy-to-understand presentations including colour maps and sound demos based on many years of experience with public hearings and enquiries.

Railway noise and vibration

Noise and vibration are significant environmental issues along railway lines. A number of initiatives are under way to improve the situation, e.g. retrofitting of cast iron brake blocks, improved track design and construction and TSI regulations of rolling stock.

We offer the following services:

  • Strategic noise mapping and action planning in accordance with EU Directive 2002/49 and national guidelines 
  • Noise prediction of new infrastructure or upgrading or extension of existing railways 
  • Noise and vibration calculations at a detailed level in residential areas 
  • Noise and vibration mitigation like track vibration damping measures, noise barriers and improved sound insulation for neighbouring residential housing 
  • Measurement of railway noise and vibration 
  • Structural monitoring
  • Runability, safety and passenger comfort for high speed trains.

COWI uses the latest technology and software. In noise and vibration mapping projects we use GIS and available databases in order to make the mapping as fast and efficient as possible. Noise issues are presented in an easily accessible form.

Aircraft noise

Surveys have proven that noise from aircrafts is the most annoying source of transport noise, meaning the noise at a certain level is most annoying when it is caused by aircraft movements.

Noise from airports is regulated by standards from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the EU. COWI calculates noise levels from take-off and landing as well as from noisy ground operations like engine testing, workshops and ground power units (GPU).

We offer the following services:

  • Setting up the correct traffic data and flight paths, flight restrictions, aircraft composition etc. 
  • Noise maps using INM in respect of national regulations
  • Mitigation measures 
  • Applications for environmental approval/permission.

LAST UPDATED: 13.02.2016