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Appl. Sci. 2016, 6(12), 398; doi:10.3390/app6120398

Analysis of Psychoacoustic and Vibration-Related Parameters to Track the Reasons for Health Complaints after the Introduction of New Tramways

Institute of Highway Engineering and Transport Planning, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Graz University of Technology, Rechbauerstraße 12/II, Graz 8010, Austria
Division of Social Medicine, Department of Hygiene, Microbiology and Social Medicine, Medical University Innsbruck, Peter-Mayr-Straße 4b, Innsbruck 6020, Austria
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jian Kang
Received: 9 October 2016 / Revised: 12 November 2016 / Accepted: 22 November 2016 / Published: 30 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Noise and Vibration Control in the Built Environment)
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Background: A change to new tramways in Graz (Austria) led to severe complaints in residential areas. To understand the underlying reasons for these complaints, a systematic measurement campaign was designed. Methods: Six locations in Graz and two locations in a comparably sized city were selected. Parallel indoor recordings of sound and vibrations were conducted from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. (due to sleep problems) at all locations. Results: Vibration levels remained below the limits of the Austrian standard (Wm-weighting) although variability was observed among sites, tram types and pass-bys. A complex characteristic of the acoustic feature space was found with A-weighting (differences between A- and C-weighting of more than 15 dB were observed). C-weighted background to peak noise ratios clearly distinguished “old” from “new” trams. Psychoacoustic indices indicated a high variability between locations and tram types. Roughness and loudness was higher in “new” versus “old” trams at most locations. “New” trams exhibited high sharpness values and variability, especially at higher speeds—when compared with trams from a control city. Conclusions: Standard indicators of sound and vibration were not sensitive enough to uncover the reasons for the complaints. Only the integrated analysis of the ambient soundscape (high signal-to-noise-ratio), the more noticeable sound (in psychoacoustic terms) and the observed high variance of the immissions provided guidance to implement appropriate technical solutions. View Full-Text
Keywords: tramway; vibration; noise; psychoacoustics; annoyance; sleep; health risk assessment tramway; vibration; noise; psychoacoustics; annoyance; sleep; health risk assessment

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Cik, M.; Lienhart, M.; Lercher, P. Analysis of Psychoacoustic and Vibration-Related Parameters to Track the Reasons for Health Complaints after the Introduction of New Tramways. Appl. Sci. 2016, 6, 398.

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