July 11, 2006
The Federal Transit Administration has guidance on how to assess noise and vibration impacts of proposed mass transit projects: Transit Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment (PDF). This guidance is used by project sponsors seeking funding from FTA to evaluate these impacts during the environmental review process. All types of bus and rail projects are covered. The guidance contains procedures for assessing impacts at different stages of project development, from early planning before mode and alignment have been selected through preliminary engineering and final design. The focus is on noise and vibration impacts during operations, but construction impacts are also covered. The guidance describes a range of measures for controlling excessive noise and vibration.
In addition to the electronic document available on FTA's website (refer to the PDF above), individual printed copies of the guidance manual are available from FTA’s Regional Offices and the headquarters Office of Planning and Environment.
The procedures for a General Noise Assessment are incorporated in a spreadsheet program (MS Excel) that allows users to readily predict noise levels from a proposed project and assess impact based on FTA’s noise impact criteria. The instructions accompanying the spreadsheet program are supplemented by a full description of the General Assessment procedures in Chapter 5 of the FTA guidance manual.
A three-day training course, Transit Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment, is offered by the National Transit Institute. This course will be of interest not only to technical specialists who conduct noise and vibration analyses, but also to those who prepare and review environmental impact assessments for transit projects. Managers overseeing the environmental review process for a major project may also find the course useful.