The Impacts of Pollution for New High-Speed Railways: the Case of Noise in Turkey

  • Yasin SarikavakEmail author
  • Alistair Boxall
Original Paper


In recent years, high-speed train operations have been increasing, yet their environmental impact is still not well researched and understood. Evaluation of the impacts of Turkey’s new high-speed train lines from the perspectives of noise, vibration and socio-economic issues is important to secure sustainable development in the sector. National and international regulations are important to enable environmentally friendly railway systems to be secured. In this study, national and international regulations for the control of noise from conventional and high-speed train operations are reviewed and used to estimate distances which should not be exceeded for the Turkish high-speed train system. Calculated distances for EU and Turkish systems for noise threshold values of 87 dB (A) pass-by noise (LpAeq,Tp—measured 25 m distance from the centreline of the track and 3.5 m above the rail head), 65, 60 and 55 dB (A) (LpAeq, day; LpAeq, evening and LpAeq, night, the A-weighted average sound level for the specified time periods, at the most affected residential area, 4 ± 0.2 m above the ground) were 28, 160, 272 and 469 m from the centreline of the track, respectively. These threshold distances were defined as a buffer zone in a railway map of Turkey in ArcGIS v.10.2.1 and merged with the Turkey population map to determine the population numbers which would be subjected to exposure above the threshold limits. Calculations conducted for highly populated cities showed that 2325, 22,839 and 3184 people would be exposed to railway noise exceeding the EU 96/48/EC Directive threshold limit 87 dB (A) for Ankara, İstanbul and İzmir, respectively. When calculations were repeated for the Turkey regulation threshold limits 65, 60 and 55 dB (A), these numbers were 10,767, 19,298, 35,951 for Ankara; 125,033, 210,360, 357,041 for İstanbul and 17,340, 29,026, 49,318 for İzmir, respectively. The data indicate that some noise mitigation is required to protect human health in Turkey and potential mitigation strategies are discussed.


Train operation High-speed train Engineering noise Environmental impact Geographical information systems Noise control Materials Mitigation 



Authors would like to thank the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) because this work includes population data of Turkey provided by CIESIN.


The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


  1. 1.
    Guizhen, H., Arthur, P.J.M., Lei, Z., Yonglong, L.: Environmental risks of high-speed railway in China: Public participation, perception and trust. Environ. Dev. 14, 37–52 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    International Union of Railways (UIC): UIC Railway Noise in Europe, A 2010 report on the state of the art. 16 rue Jean Ray, Paris, France. (2010). Accessed 18 June 2015
  3. 3.
    TCDD Annual Statistics 2010–2014: Turkish State Railways Research Planning and Coordination Department, Statistics Office. (2015). Accessed 12 July 2015
  4. 4.
    International Union of Railways (UIC): UIC high speed rail. (2010). Accessed 18 June 2015
  5. 5.
    International Union of Railways (UIC): UIC high speed rail. (2015). Accessed 18 June 2015
  6. 6.
    Xiaoan, G.: Railway environmental noise control in China. J. Sound Vib. 293, 1078–1085 (2006). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Givoni, M.: Development and impact of the modern high-speed train: a review. Transp. Rev. 26, 593–611 (2006). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    High Speed Two (HS2): Noise, environment. HS2 Limited P2C29 noise. (2013). Accessed 12 Dec 2018
  9. 9.
    EEA Report: Noise in Europe 2014. No: 10/2014. (2014). Accessed 12 Dec 2018
  10. 10.
    Di, G., Zheng, Y.: Effects of high-speed railway noise on the synaptic ultrastructure and phosphorylated-CaMKII expression in the central nervous system of SD rats. Environ. Toxicol. Pharmacol. 35, 93–99 (2013). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Frid, A., Leth, S., Hogstrom, C., Farm, J.: Noise control design of railway vehicles–Impact of new legislation. J. Sound Vib. 293, 910–920 (2006). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Yu, H.H., Li, J.C.: Field acoustic measurements of high-speed train sound along BTIR. Sci. China Phys. Mech. Astron. 56–2, 474–482 (2013). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ban, Y., Miyamoto, T.: Noise control of high-speed railways. J. Sound Vib. 43(2), 273–280 (1975). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Raghunathan, R.S., Kim, H.D., Setoguchi, T.: Aerodynamics of high-speed railway train. Prog. Aerosp. Sci. 38, 469–514 (2002). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Quiet City Transport Noise Map: EU Sixth Framework Programme. Noise maps after integrating action plan measures. (2009). Accessed 12 Dec 2018
  16. 16.
    Oertli, J.: Cost benefit analysis in railway noise control. J. Sound Vib. 231, 505–509 (2000). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Oertli, J.: Developing noise control strategies for entire railway networks. J. Sound Vib. 293, 1086–1090 (2006). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Elmenhorst, E.M., Pennig, S., Rolny, V., Quehl, J., Mueller, U., Maaß, H., Basner, M.: Examining nocturnal railway noise and aircraft noise in the field: Sleep, psychomotor performance, and annoyance. Sci. Total Environ. 42, 48–56 (2012). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Havlick, D.G.: No Place Distant: Roads and Motorized Recreation on America’s Public Lands. Island Press, Washington D.C. (2002)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    World Health Organization (WHO): Protection of the human environment occupational noise. environmental burden of disease series, No. 9 (2004)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Existing directives relating to noise sources: (2015). Accessed 25 June 2015
  22. 22.
    Council Directive 96/48/EC.: Interoperability of the trans-European high-speed rail system. (1996). Accessed 12 Dec 2018
  23. 23.
    Council Directive 2002/732/EC.: Technical Specification for Interoperability (TSI) relating to high speed railway infrastructures. (2002). Accessed 12 December 2018
  24. 24.
    Council Directive 2002/735/EC.: Technical Specification for Interoperability (TSI) relating to the rolling stock subsystem. (2002). Accessed 12 Dec 2018
  25. 25.
    Council Directive 2008/232/EC.: Commission Decision of 21 February 2008 concerning a technical specification for interoperability relating to the rolling stock sub-system of the trans-European high-speed rail system (notified under document number C (2008) 648) (Text with EEA relevance)– (2008). Accessed 12 Dec 2018
  26. 26.
    Çevre ve Orman Bakanlığı: Çevresel Gürültünün Değerlendirilmesi ve Yönetimi Yönetmeliği. (2010). Accessed 12 Dec 2018
  27. 27.
    Parizet, E., Hamzaoui, N., Jacquemoud, J.: Noise assessment in a high-speed train. Appl. Acoust. 63, 1109–1124 (2002). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Moritoh, Y., Zenda, Y., Nagakura, K.: Noise control of high speed Shinkansen. J. Sound Vib. 193(1), 319–334 (1996). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Quiet City Transport Noise Map: EU Sixth Framework Programme. Noise maps and analyses of existing situations for selected European cities. (2006). Accessed 12 Dec 2018
  30. 30.
    Ju, S.H., Lin, H.T.: Experimentally investigating finite element accuracy for ground vibrations induced by high-speed trains. Eng. Struct. 30, 733–746 (2008). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Rau, J., Wooten, D.: Environmental Impact Analysis Handbook. McGrawHill, New York (1980)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    TCDD CAF YHT Maintenance Manual: Chapter TBS 01-00 (General), 1. Ed. Turkey (2008)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Turkey population and demography: (2014). Accessed 12 July 2017
  34. 34.
    CIESIN: Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), Columbia University; United Nations Food and Agriculture Programme (FAO); and Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT). 2005. Gridded Population of the World: Future Estimates (GPWFE). Palisades, NY: Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), Columbia University. (2005). Accessed 12 Dec 2018
  35. 35.
    Diva GIS: GIS files. (2011). Accessed 12 Dec 2018
  36. 36.
    MapcruzinGIS: GIS files. (1996). Accessed 12 Dec 2018
  37. 37.
    Stairrs Final Technical Report: Strategies and tools to assess and implement noise reducing measures for railway systems. (2002). Accessed 25 July 2015
  38. 38.
    Oertli, J., Elbers, F. Stap, P. V. D.: The STAIRRS Project: A cost-benefit analysis of different measures to reduce railway noise on a European scale. The 2001 International Congress and Exhibition on Noise Control Engineering (ICENCE). The Hague, Netherlands, 27–30 August. (2001)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Maffei, L., Masullo, M., Aletta, F., Gabriele, M.D.: The influence of visual characteristics of barriers on railway noise perception. Sci. Total Environ. 445–446, 41–47 (2013). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Thompson, D.J., Jones, C.J.C., Waters, T.P., Farrington, D.: A tuned damping device for reducing noise from railway track. Appl. Acoust. 68, 43–57 (2007). CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Australian Acoustical Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mechanical Engineering DepartmentAnkara Yıldırım Beyazıt UniversityKeciorenTurkey
  2. 2.Railway Research and Technology Centre, Turkish State RailwaysAnkaraTurkey
  3. 3.Department of Environment and GeographyUniversity of YorkHeslington,YorkUK

Personalised recommendations