Transportation Noise & Vibration

Wilkinson Murray is recognised as an Australian leader in the assessment and control of noise and vibration from all types of transportation. This has been acknowledged by our involvement in Policy issues and Australian Standards. The services we provide include the following:

  • road traffic noise - measurement, prediction, assessment and design of noise mitigation
  • rail noise and vibration - control of noise from surface operations and vibration and ground borne noise from underground rail systems
  • aircraft / helicopter noise - airport planning and building design to control intruding aircraft noise
  • port noise - planning, prediction, assessment and control of noise



Read the feedback from our client: Nigel Walker Design Manager PORR Bau GmbH | DOHA METRO TRACK WORKS

We engaged Wilkinson Murray’s services, initially to undertake an independent review of the ground borne noise and vibration studies on a short section of the Doha Metro. The review was undertaken within a relatively short period of time with a high degree of professionalism, which subsequently resulted in the engagement of Wilkinson Murray by our client MHI as the design verification engineer for the entire Phase 1 Metro. A bespoke acoustic company that delivers under time pressure, Wilkinson Murray were instrumental in ensuring that all relevant project stakeholders fully understood the outcomes of studies and were very competent in explaining and presenting key aspects in a clear and concise manner so as to allow major decisions to made in the shortest possible timeframe. Key staff are very approachable, friendly and willing to provide that extra added level of service. We would highly recommend the services of Wilkinson Murray to anyone engaged on the dealing with the complex subject matter of ground borne noise and vibration of a major metro system.
underground rail line


This project involves twin underground rail tunnels extending over 13km across the northern suburbs of Sydney. Wilkinson Murray was commissioned to design vibration and ground borne noise mitigation measures to meet stringent criteria applying to buildings on the surface.

The solution involved the use of high attenuation resilient fasteners and Floating Slab Tracks (FST). Extensive measurements of existing underground rail systems and of vibration propagation through the rock along the route were carried out to obtain relevant parameters as inputs for the Rail Noise Prediction Model. Separate measurements of the effect of rail wear were carried out to understand the variation in ground borne noise levels to be expected over a typical maintenance cycle.

Final compliance measurements indicated that the stringent noise and vibration limits for the project set at residences above the tunnel have been achieved.

sydney airport


Aircraft noise surrounding Sydney Airport is managed partly by the adoption of the Long Term Operating Plan involving noise sharing over Sydney suburbs. As the traffic at the airport increases over time, the opportunities for noise sharing will reduce resulting in some noise impact increases around the airport.

In 2004 Wilkinson Murray was commissioned to provide airport noise prediction and mitigation services to assist in the preparation of the Master Plan. ANEF and maximum noise contours were prepared for relevant airport operational scenarios and these were used to identify future noise impacts.

freight line


A major freight rail company in Australia proposed a 28km long dedicated freight line through the southern suburbs of Sydney, primarily to carry freight to and from the Port Botany container terminal. The project involved the prediction, assessment and control of noise and vibration associated with the route, which passed primarily along an existing rail corridor. The prediction involved the development of a major rail noise prediction model for the project and the prediction of noise levels at all noise sensitive locations adjacent. Since the proposed line passes over a number of bridges, the work also involved the analysis of bridge vibration and radiated structural noise so as to be able to predict noise levels in the area with a high degree of accuracy. At many locations along the route, rail side noise barriers were proposed. Wilkinson Murray continues to conduct assessment and monitoring work associated with the construction phase of the project.


GAUTRAIN, South Africa

This project involves tunnel, at grade and viaduct sections of track from Johannesburg to Pretoria. The ballasted track will pass close to many residential buildings, and Wilkinson Murray is currently predicting ground-borne noise levels and designing the track treatment to meet stringent noise and vibration limits for the project. Ground mobility tests have been carried out, and MoleRat has been used to predict the levels.

Express Rail


A 200km/h line is proposed to connect Hong Kong to the Chinese border and on to Guangzhou. The current Hong Kong proposal involves a rail tunnel from West Kowloon to Futian, just inside China. Wilkinson Murray was responsible for the control of noise and vibration for the project. The whole line was modelled to predict ground-borne noise levels, and trackforms to meet the limits that have been identified. The airborne noise levels from the emergency rescue station (open cut) and from the maintenance depot were also predicted and mitigation measures identified.

Metro Rail


The Perth New MetroRail project involves 6km of track in tunnel under the central business district of Perth, Western Australia. Wilkinson Murray was engaged by the contractor to provide the noise and vibration design for the project, with the objective of meeting vibration and ground-borne noise limits within the sensitive commercial buildings over the tunnel and the adjacent Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, as well as airborne noise limits within the tunnel.

To provide design information, tests of vibration generation of existing rail systems were carried out, as well as ground and vibration propagation tests (including from the partly completed tunnels). The propagation tests required the use of the Wilkinson Murray “banging machine”. The design includes a substantial amount of high attenuation resilient fixings.

M2 motorway


The M2 Motorway connects the area of North Ryde in the northern suburbs of Sydney to Seven Hills, west of Parramatta. Wilkinson Murray was responsible for the assessment and mitigation of noise from the road during preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the western section of road from Pennant Hills Road to Seven Hills. Roadside noise barriers were designed and traffic noise contours were prepared.

Wilkinson Murray is the recipient of an Excellence in Acoustics Award from the Australian Acoustical Society for this project.

glebe island


These port facilities are located close to residential areas in Balmain and Pyrmont. After many years of concern regarding noise in residential areas, Wilkinson Murray carried out a survey of existing noise levels, quantified the noise impact and set in place a strategy for the long-term management of noise levels. The strategy required meetings with authorities and concerned residents and the consideration of specific noise control measures as part of an overall Noise Reduction Program.

M5 Motorway


Wilkinson Murray was employed by Leighton Contractors to modify and improve the barrier scheme which was proposed as part of the REF / EIS for this project. For all road traffic projects, the cost-effectiveness, practicabilities, acoustic performance, loss of views and visual appearance of noise control measures are of great concern to the RTA, the Contractor, motorist and the local residents.

There are many residences which are located relatively close to the Casula Link alignment for the majority of its length. Wilkinson Murray worked very closely with the RTA, Leighton Contractors and the landscape architect to ensure that the barrier scheme provided maximum benefit to the residents while maintaining an aesthetically pleasing environment for both the motorist and local residents.

Mine Rail Line


Wilkinson Murray have undertaken a number of prediction, assessment and monitoring projects on the rail line connecting the Dendrobium Coal mine with Port Kembla. The most recent project involved wheel and brake squeal. Freight trains frequently pass through a residential area on a downhill run around tight radius curves. This combination resulted in high levels of wheel and brake squeal and subsequently generated frequent complaints from residents.

A device was required to automatically measure the level of squeal, track suspect trains and help evaluate potential wheel squeal reduction techniques. Wilkinson Murray developed a custom system consisting of a WAV file recording device, control and communication hardware, a dedicated server to analyse and store data, provide email alerts, and a website for users to view the measured data. Data is available from anywhere in the world via a secure VPN connection.

The system is triggered by an approaching train and records a WAV file for the passby. This file is then transferred to the server which implements a complex analysis routine that was developed for the project. Overall noise levels from the train passby, the noise contribution from wheel squeal, and frequency content are calculated and the results made available on a secure website. The entire process is done automatically. This system enabled engineers to accurately track rail noise impacts 24hrs per day, 365 days per year in near real time. This system has given the operator the ability to troubleshoot and address problems as they arise. The system has also been found to be a valuable community relations tool, demonstrating the operator is addressing their issues effectively.





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