Transit Warning Signal Dose-Response Data Development

Focus Area



Community & Cultural Concerns, Environmental Process






1-2 years

Research Idea Scope

Problem Statement
The specific noise issue in the vicinity of at-grade rail crossings is locomotive warning horn and crossing bell sounds, which cause significant noise impacts. The acoustic signatures of these warning devices are unlike the transportation vehicle exposures that are the basis for the dose-response surveys that guide most judgments of environmental noise acceptability. For horn soundings, the distance to the 65 dB (A) DNL noise contour can extend as far as 1,000 feet from the grade crossing and can encompass a large number of homes. Crossing bells, although not reaching as far into the community as warning horns are still a substantial source of annoyance and complaints from nearby neighbors. It appears that existing criteria do not adequately reflect the potential adverse effects caused by these sources.
Proposed ResearchThe dose-response data upon which the Schultz curve and its variations are based do not include locomotive warning horn or crossing bell noise. This is a shortcoming in the basis for assessment of transit project noise impacts. It could be, for example, that the “startle effect” of warning horns would result in a 1 dB (A) allowable increase. Or perhaps the DNL is the wrong metric to use. A comprehensive attitudinal survey/noise-measurement program should be conducted to address these issues.

Suggested By

RNS. Sponsoring Committee: ADC40, Transportation-Related Noise and Vibration Source Info: Research Needs Conference