Rail noise and vibration

Requirements for railway companies

Section 95.1 of the Canada Transportation Act states that a railway company shall cause only such noise and vibration as is reasonable, taking into account:

  • its obligations under sections 113 and 114 of the Act, if applicable;
  • its operational requirements; and
  • the area where the construction or operation is taking place.

The Act authorizes the Agency to resolve complaints about rail noise and vibration related to construction or railway operations by federal railways or public passenger rail service providers (including urban transit authorities).

To learn more about the responsibilities of railway companies, see the Guidelines for the Resolution of Complaints Over Railway Noise and Vibration.

For more information about noise and vibration from idling locomotives, see Noise and Vibration from Idling Locomotives, a document prepared in collaboration with members of the Agency's Rail Infrastructure Advisory Committee (RIAC).

How to measure noise and vibration

The Railway Noise Measurement and Reporting Methodology sets out procedures for the assessment of noise levels from existing rail installations and installations under construction. 

The methodology:

  • reviews elements of sound, presents the appropriate sound descriptors for different types of sound, and describes the different types of noise associated with rail constructions and operations;
  • presents three methods that have been tailored to suit the complexity of railway noise issues under dispute; and
  • provides definitions of terms used in the assessment of sound.

The Agency may use the methodology when resolving complaints about rail noise and vibration.

The methodology was prepared by the Agency in collaboration with its Railway Noise and Vibration Technical Advisory Committee. The committee represents industry, citizens, municipalities and government agencies with expertise in the area of noise and vibration.

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