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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Noise impacts of Automated Light Rail Transit in the Broadway and Nanaimo station areas of Vancouver McLean, Hugh Dundas


This thesis analyzes the impact of wayside noise produced by Automated Light Rail Transit (ALRT) in the Broadway Station and Nanaimo Station Areas of Vancouver. The hypothesis is divided into three sections. First, a semi-logarithmic relationship between ALRT noise and the distance from the guideway is anticipated, yet at the same distance at different points in the study area, noise levels can vary markedly. Second, in the area where ALRT noise levels exceed accepted standards, residents' perceptions are expected to be consistent with the measured impact. Third, at greater distances from the facility where the noise is acceptable, perceptions are anticipated to be inconsistent with the measured noise. The purposes of this thesis are to examine the relationship between noise levels and distance from the ALRT guideway, to define the zones of high and low noise impact, and to analyze residents' perceptions of ALRT noise based upon the measured noise level within each zone of impact. Primary data for this thesis came from three separate sources. ALRT noise levels forecast for 1986 were obtained from a consultant's report prepared for B.C. Transit in 1983. The East Vancouver Neighbourhoods Study surveyed residents in the Broadway and Nanaimo Station Areas, and elsewhere, during construction of the ALRT in 1984. In April 1986, measurements of wayside ALRT noise and a survey of residents were undertaken by the UBC transportation planning students. A 24-hour energy-equivalent level (L eq) was calculated separately for background noise and for wayside ALRT noise. The total 24-hour L eq was calculated by combining these two L eq. The relationship between noise and distance was then computed using regression analysis. Where applicable, an adjustment was made to the L eq based on established criteria for previous community exposure and background noise, in order to define the zones of impact. The zone of high impact was defined as the area in which noise levels are higher than acceptable, a 24-hour L eq of 55 dB or more. Perceptions of ALRT noise and neighbourhood noise were analyzed in relation to the adjusted L eq and socio-economic variables. A pre-ALRT outlook on the ALRT's influence on neighbourhood noise was analyzed in terms of the anticipated zones of impact, and socio-economic variables. The relationship of noise and distance is semi-logarithmic. Given the same distance from the ALRT guideway, noise levels vary noticeably at different points between the two Stations. The zone of high impact ranges from 50 to 200 feet from the ALRT guideway. In the high-impact zone, the perceptions toward ALRT noise and neighbourhood noise are consistent with the measured noise (24-hour L eq). However, perceptions of noise in the zone of low impact do not appear to be consistent with the measured noise levels. In the pre-ALRT study, residents in the high-impact zone tended to have a neutral outlook on anticipated ALRT noise levels. In the low-impact zone, negative perceptions toward ALRT noise appear to be related to a negative perception of traffic noise.

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