Mitigation of Railway Induced Ground-borne Noise and Vibration


  • Rabih Alkhatib Valcoustics Canada Ltd.
  • Al D. Lightstone Valcoustics Canada Ltd.
  • Sam Du Valcoustics Canada Ltd.


New surface and underground railway lines are increasingly being introduced into urban areas as a result of intensification. Furthermore, new developments are being built with lighter construction materials and longer spans in close proximity to track alignments. These factors have led to more ground-borne noise and vibration being perceived inside buildings and increased potential for annoyance for the occupants. Vibrating walls and floors act like giant loudspeakers reradiating the acoustic energy as noise. Low levels of vibration, even below the level of human perception can interfere with the operation of sensitive equipment found in hospitals, labs and high-tech facilities. There are alternative methods to mitigate the impact of ground borne noise and vibration from railway traffic which can be used individually or together: isolating the source, interrupting the vibration path and/or isolating the receiver. This paper reviews the common mitigation methods of each type available to the design community. Increasing track compliance by introducing resilient elements in the rail support system can reduce transfer of vibration to the ground. Vibration can be prevented from reaching buildings through properly built in-ground wave barriers acting in an analogous manner to sound barriers. Introducing resilient element in building foundations can isolate entire buildings from vibration. Sensitive equipment can be mounted on special isolating tables or mounts.

Author Biographies

Rabih Alkhatib, Valcoustics Canada Ltd.

Ph.D., P.Eng

Al D. Lightstone, Valcoustics Canada Ltd.

President and Principal Engineer at Valcoustics Canada Ltd., with over 45 years experience in Acoustics.  Registered Designated Consulting Engineer with Professional Engineers of Ontario.

Sam Du, Valcoustics Canada Ltd.

P. Eng.




How to Cite

Alkhatib R, Lightstone AD, Du S. Mitigation of Railway Induced Ground-borne Noise and Vibration. Canadian Acoustics [Internet]. 2017 Aug. 20 [cited 2021 Oct. 19];45(3):160-1. Available from:



Proceedings of the Acoustics Week in Canada