Human Response to Groundborne Noise and Vibration in Buildings Caused by Rail Transit: Summary of the TCRP D-12 Study

  • Jeffrey A. Zapfe
  • Hugh Saurenman
  • Sanford Fidell
Part of the Notes on Numerical Fluid Mechanics and Multidisciplinary Design book series (NNFM, volume 118)


Ground vibration produced by rail transit systems can be annoying to nearby building occupants when they perceive some combination of feelable vibration, re-radiated sound, and vibration-induced rattling of household paraphernalia. Community response to rail-induced ground vibration has not been extensively researched. While the well-known Schultz dosage-—response curve is routinely used to predict the prevalence of annoyance produced by airborne transportation noise, no similar relationship has gained widespread acceptance for groundborne noise and vibration. The principal goal of the present study was to develop a dosage response relationship for predicting community annoyance due to ground vibration produced by rail transit systems. The research was conducted as part of the Transit Cooperative Research Program D-12 project. Telephone interviews were conducted with 1306 individuals in five North American cities. Field measurements were made in each city to estimate vibration and noise exposure at each interview location. The work produced several dosage-—response relationships between vibration/noise exposure and annoyance. When compared to the current noise and vibration criteria specified by the United States Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the dosage response analysis predicted a probability of 0.05 to 0.10 that a D-12 respondent would be highly annoyed by vibration and noise at the current FTA criterion levels.


Sound Pressure Level Transit System Ground Vibration Vibration Level Vibration Measurement 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey A. Zapfe
    • 1
  • Hugh Saurenman
    • 2
  • Sanford Fidell
    • 3
  1. 1.Acentech IncorporatedCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.ATS ConsultingLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Fidell Associates, Inc.Woodland HillsUSA

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