Translink explores skytrain noise reduction

Aiya Benaso / October 10, 2018



Vancouverites living near skytrain lines and stations may be relieved to hear that TransLink is looking into reducing excessive system noise.

TransLink initiated the SkyTrain Noise Study due to all the complaints from nearby residents and businesses since 2014.

The study suggests it’s as loud as 90 decibels in some stretches of the line, mainly the one between VCC-Clark and Commercial stations – that’s equivalent to a large commercial airliner preparing to land.

To put the noise into perspective, the World Health Organization recommends a maximum passby noise level of 75 decibels near residential buildings.

The study examines noise caused by the day-to-day operation of the Expo & Millennium lines, where they collected measurements and observations at 32 locations.

A further update will be presented to the Board in March 2019.

This graph shows the concentration of noise complains from 2014-2017 from the Expo and Millennium Lines.
(Translink)

Most of the noise complaints are from a stretch of line from VCC Clark station to Commercial Station.
(Translink)

What is causing the noise?

This noise is mostly caused by the rolling contact of steel wheels of the train on the steel rails.

The study concludes that track condition, including rail roughness, corrugation, track defects, and/or worn switches, results in the most noise levels and should be the main focus of action.

Here are 6 recommendations to improve noise conditions:

With file from Carol Xu.