Noise and Vibration Optimised Switch

The EU guidelines 2002/49/EC on the Assessment and Management of Environmental Noise requires all EU Member States to prepare and publish noise maps and noise action plans. Similar developments are taking place in non-EU countries.

The common goal is to ensure a high level of health and environmental protection and subsequently, to reduce the emission of noise and vibrations, incl. also railway systems. With vehicle-side improvement measures, the focus is increasingly on railway subsystems such as switches & crossings.

About the Project


Vehicle – Track Interaction

Due to the dynamic interaction of vehicle and track, energy is introduced into the oscillating railway system. The resulting vibrations spread as airborne sound (noise) and structure-borne noise (vibrations). The reduction of emissions along the propagation path, e.g. noise barriers, is generally less efficient than measures directly at the noise or vibration source.


Relevant noise and vibration sources

Although some efforts have been made in the past to improve the rail system, it is still often unclear which relevant sources are relevant in combination with the propagation paths. In addition, noise reduction measures may be negative for vibration emissions and conversely.

In order to clarify which sources are relevant of noise and vibration and to develop suitable improvement measures, the project “Lärmarme Weiche” was launched as part of the Comet K2 Digital Mobility Program.

In a consortium, VIRTUAL VEHICLE works closely with infrastructure managers and manufacturers together. The project structure basically enables the inclusion of further partners in the project consortium.


Several project phases to goal-oriented optimization

The research project follows the approach of the holistic consideration of noise and vibration and is divided into three phases:

  1. Analysis phase:
    In the first phase, the situation in the switch is analyzed and potential fields of improvement identified. The analysis includes historical and recent measurement data and available publications.
  2. Modelling phase:
    The second phase deals with the calculation and assessment of noise and vibration of the switch, taking into account the interaction with the vehicle including its variability. Measures for improvement are developed and evaluated for the identified improvement areas.
  3. Verification phase:
    In the third and final phase, the developed measures are implemented, tested in switches and verified by measurements.


The three phases ensure a targeted optimization of the switch with regard to the reduction of noise and vibrations, the virtual testing of the developed measures and the verification of their effectiveness.

The methodology to be developed for virtual measure evaluation has the advantage that it can subsequently be used for future developments and can be integrated into the specification and design process of switches, in addition to the necessary measurements.


Project Objectives

  • The sources of noise and vibration related to relevant components of the switch are identified. From this the potential for reducing noise and vibration of the affected components follows.
  • Measures are to be developed for the reduction of noise and vibration, in particular cost-effective measures are sought. The measures developed are reviewed and evaluated for effectiveness.
  • To evaluate and develop the noise and vibration measures, both modeling and optimization methods are developed that take into account the switch dynamics as a result of vehicle-track interaction.
  • The developed (cost-effective) noise and vibration reduction measures in the switch are, where possible, implemented in existing switches and the optimization methods and the effectiveness of the measures are verified.


B. Buchegger (2020), Methodology to assess noise and vibrations in turnouts, 2020 CHARMEC Meeting: 34th Workshop VAS, VAE, MCL, ViF, 3.6.2020


Virtual Vehicle Research GmbH is funded within the COMET – Competence Centers for Excellent Technologies by BMVIT, BMDW, the Province of Styria (Department 12, Economy and Innovation) and the Styrian Business Promotion Agency (SFG). The COMET programme is operated by FFG.