Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering


Dr Jorge D'Avillez


Routine procedure for the assessment of rail-induced vibration

Project title

Routine Prediction of Railway Induced Ground Bourne Vibrations in Nearby Buildings

Sponsoring Company

Scott Wilson


Dr Paul Fleming
Dr Matthew Frost

Industrial Supervisor:
Mr Steve Cawser
Mr Paul Shields

Director of Research:
Professor Neil Dixon

Research Period

2008 - 2012

Routine Prediction of Railway Induced Ground Bourne Vibrations in Nearby Buildings

Context and Background

The prediction of the vibration impacts from new, improved and reopened railways is important for planning purposes and costing of mitigation.  Currently there are no commercially available software packages that are able to routinely predict ground-borne vibration.

Aims and Objectives

The project’s aim is to provide a model for routine use for the prediction of railway vibration which takes into account the source characteristics, track and track support parameters and intervening ground conditions between the track formation and the receptor. This requires assessment, modelling and an improved understanding of the propagation of vibration from the source to the receptor, i.e. the railway through the intervening ground and into buildings.

Method and Current Status

It is considered that a more practical semi-empirical model would be the most appropriate method of modelling to employ which would produce a system that can be routinely used. This model would use a database of measurement data coupled with mathematical or numerical modelling to allow the prediction of vibration to be undertaken with confidence.

A substantial set of vibration measurements from various railway sites (10-20) will be undertaken, to take account of variables affecting vibration generation and propagation.  It is proposed to take measurements on land accessible to the public, thus removing the need for costly access arrangements to Network Rail land.  Train type and relevant properties will be obtained from publicly accessible information.  Impact testing using established techniques (such as the FWD or similar) will be used to obtain a train-independent measurement of the vibration propagation where appropriate. A literature review will be carried out, followed by building a database containing the information established of different train and track types, distances of measurement locations, ground types and possibly building types, as well as the measured vibration levels for various combinations of the above influential factors.  Access is required to different sites in order to gain an understanding of the variables; however commonly occurring scenarios will be examined in detail.

Analyses of the measured and validated data in the database will be performed.  This may include signal analysis of the time history of the raw data to look at the frequency content; detailed analyses of peak values, and statistical analysis of the averaged values.  A prediction model will then be established based on the findings of the analyses of the measured data. Finally the research findings would facilitate the optimization of the model with the incorporation of additional data and consequently confidence in prediction using the model gained.

Benefits and Expected Outcomes

It is anticipated that the outcome of this project will provide a significantly better understanding of the propagation of ground vibration from trains.  A better understanding of how vibration propagates through the ground will enable more accurate routine predictions to be undertaken and thus improve the environmental impact assessment and design of any mitigation requirements. A semi-empirical method of modelling for predictions will allow data to be recorded on-site and easily assimilated into the model, and allow railway related vibration prediction to be routinely undertaken with confidence, which is not currently the case.



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+44 (0)1509 222623

The Centre Administrator
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

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