Mr. Thalheimer has performed dozens of heavy & light rail and bus transit noise and vibration projects including freight expansion, commuter rail extensions, and metro transit systems. In general these Environmental Impact projects include the measurement of ambient noise and vibration conditions, the prediction of future rail-generated noise and vibration levels, and the development of cost-effective mitigating measures where warranted. Mr. Thalheimer is fully equipped with the requisite measurement instrumentation and prediction models to perform work in accordance with the Federal Transit Administration’s Transit Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment Manual (in which his work is referenced).
- NHHS Cooper Street Grade Crossing Warning
Horn System Assessment,
Connecticut Department of Transportation, Meriden, CT – Performed a
controlled study of rail warning horn noise levels in the community proximal to
the Cooper Street grade crossing.
Performed observed sound measurements at six locations for two weeks;
one week with the trains using their regular locomotive-mounted horns and one
week using previously installed pole-mounted wayside warning system horns. Assessed the results relative to one another,
to the ambient noise levels occurring at the time, and to train horn regulations
found in 49 CFR Parts 222 and 229.
- CAHSR San Francisco to San Jose EIS Review, California High Speed Rail Project, San Francisco to San Jose, CA – Performed a peer review of the environmental impact study performed by others for the CAHSR section from San Francisco to San Jose. Provided critical review comments and approved revisions.
- CAHSR Grasslands Noise Barrier Assessment, California High Speed Rail Project, Grasslands Ecological Area, CA – Performed a special assessment of a proposed high speed rail noise barrier and its ability to reduce train noise for sensitive wildlife adjacent to the rail corridor. Used the Cadna-A noise model to assess several barrier design options including a typical vertical barrier, a barrier with a slanted cantilever top, and a full enclosure barrier tunnel. Wildlife noise criteria to meet included limits for permanent and temporary hearing damage and avoidance of masking or arousal sound levels.
- NHHS Kensington Road Noise Barrier
Department of Transportation, Berlin, CT – Performed an in-depth
assessment as part of the NHHS rail project of the need and justification of a
noise mitigation barrier along Kensington Road.
Performed ambient noise measurements and computed rail noise impacts on
four homes due to proposed future rail operations in accordance with FTA
criteria. Used the Cadna-A model to evaluate
the effectiveness of various noise barrier designs along the rail right-of-way
and computed the cost-effectiveness index of the barriers in accordance with
- New Haven - Hartford - Springfield Rail Project Wayside Horn Zones, Connecticut Department of Transportation, Meriden, CT – Performed a series of wayside horn noise modeling assessments of rail/street crossings associated with the proposed NHHS rail project in Connecticut. Pole-mounted wayside horn noise levels were shown as colored isopleth sound contour zones in the proximal community using the Cadna-A model to help evaluate potential horn-free quiet zones.
- Metrolinx Noise Policy Development, Metrolinx, Toronto, Canada – Provided assistance and guidance as expert advisor to a team developing a new community noise mitigation policy for the Toronto Metrolinx transit system. Concerns focused on establishing fair and defendable policy to define noise impact and eligibility for mitigation measures above and beyond the current noise policy prescribed by the Ministry of Environment. After much consideration, the thresholds promulgated by FRA/FTA for “Moderate” noise impact were recommended for adoption, as was a Cost-Effectiveness Index (CEI) approach of $$/dBNR/DU to justify the feasibility and reasonableness of noise mitigation measures such as barriers or soundproofing.
- LGA AirTrain People Mover, LaGuardia Airport, Queens, NY –
An initial feasibility study was performed to assess potential operational and
construction noise and vibrations expected from proposed AirTrain people mover
system. The 2-mile long transit system
would consist of an elevated track and automated light rail vehicles making
connections between LaGuardia Airport and points to the southeast. Ambient
noise measurements were performed at a total of 12 community receptor
locations, and potential noise and vibration conditions were predicted in
accordance with FTA procedures using the Cadna-A noise model and FTA vibration
- Pelham Bay Rail Bridge, Amtrak, Bronx, NY – The one
hundred year old Pelham Bay Rail Bridge is being replaced with a new
bridge. The bridge crosses the
Hutchinson River as part of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor rail system. Community noise and vibration impacts are not
expected, so an abbreviated noise and vibration assessment was performed as
part of the required NEPA process in accordance with FRA guidelines and
criteria. Existing community noise levels were estimates, and future rail
operations-induced noise and vibration levels were calculated at discrete
receptor locations using the FRA’s general assessment spreadsheet methods.
- CAHSR Vibration Damage Assessment of
Historic Structures, California
High Speed Rail Project, Anaheim to San Francisco, CA –
Developed a vibration prediction model to predict potential structural damages
to historic properties due to construction of the project. Developed a quantitative manner for assessing
the physical condition of historic properties in order to categorize the
properties as needed for vibration assessment in accordance with Federal
Railroad Administration criteria.
- MARTA GA 400 BRT/HRT Project EIS, MARTA, Atlanta, GA – Performed the noise and vibration impact assessment in accordance with FTA guidelines as part of the project’s Environmental Impact Study. MARTA was considering building 12 miles of new tracks to extend an existing HRT corridor, or using additional BRT buses to achieve the same purpose. Ambient noise and vibration measurements were performed at 20 receptor locations. Potential operational noise impacts were assessed using the Cadna-A model, and potential vibration impacts were assessed using the FTA’s vibration model for the General Method. Potential construction noise and vibration impacts were also evaluated in accordance with FTA guidelines.
- Amtrak K5LA Train Horn Sound Recordings, Amtrak, New Haven, CT – Performed calibrated acoustical recordings of K5LA train horns under controlled conditions in ConnDOT’s rail yard in New Haven, CT. The recordings were needed to act as a sound source for development of a new grade crossings warning system using wayside-mounted speakers at the crossings. Amtrak wanted to broadcast their existing train horn sound through the speakers.
- Winchester Cross Street Railcar Delivery; Town of Winchester, MA – Performed a rail noise study involving freight deliveries at night to a warehouse located proximal to a residential neighborhood. Observed and performed noise measurements during a rail delivery and ambient noise measurements in the community. Evaluated rail noise levels against FTA Manual criteria and Mass DEP noise regulations. Recommended various means of reducing rail noise including a shed to completely enclose the freight train during its delivery process. Also developed a draft Noise Bylaw for the town to consider adapting.
- Springfield 3rd Street Corridor High Speed Rail Environmental Assessment, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Springfield, IL – Performed noise and vibration component for a 5-mile section through Springfield of proposed Amtrak high speed rail service between Chicago and St. Louis. Performed ambient noise and vibration measurements at five community receptor locations, predicted and evaluated existing and 2030 Build Year noise and vibration levels using the Cadna-A noise model and FRA-approved vibration models, and recommended mitigation in the forms of horn-free Quiet Zones, noise barriers and ballast mats where necessary. Also performed a comprehensive site-specific noise and vibration study for the Dana Thomas House, a historic landmark estate designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
- East Rail Maintenance Facility (ERMF), Whitby, Ontario, Canada - Participated as Acoustical Engineer for team pursuing a Public-Private-Partnership (P3) contract for a new rail maintenance facility. Reviewed project's RFP and developed plan summarizing understanding of and technical approach to comply with the project's multiple noise and vibration requirements for both community noise and building interior noise. Relevant regulations/guidelines included ERMF Environmental Noise & Vibration Assessment, ERMF Project Agreement and Output Specifications, ERMF Metrolinx/GO Transit Architectural Space Data Sheets, MOEE/GO Transit Draft Protocol for Noise and Vibration Assessment, MOE Publication NPC-205, MOE Publication NPC-232, Town of Whitby Noise By-law 292-70, City of Oshawa Noise By-law 112-82, and GO Transit Design Requirements Manual.
- Northeast Rail Corridor (NEC) Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement, Federal Railroad Administration, Washington DC to Massachusetts - Acting as Technical Discipline Lead, managed the noise and vibration impact assessment associated with the FRA's Northeast Corridor EIS which was evaluating corridor and service options out to the year 2040. The study included the States of Massachusetts, Rhodes Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Washington DC. Residential and other sensitive receptors were identified from GIS maps and land-use data using the screening distances methods contained in the FRA's 2005 High-Speed Ground Transportation Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment Manual.
- Baltimore Red Line LRT Project, AECOM, Maryland Transit Authority, Baltimore, MD - Performed a comprehensive vibration analysis of future Red Line LRT vehicles for potential impacts to sensitive instrumentation and animal experiments housed inside the National Institute of Health laboratory on the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus. Ground propagation and building coupling measurements were performed using a drop weight apparatus, ambient vibration levels were measured proximal to an electron microscope (EM) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine as well areas were animal experiments are performed, and LRT source emission vibration levels were measured for a similar MTA trainset. Future vibration velocity levels were predicted and evaluated against VC-curve criteria contained in the 2006 FTA Manual.
- MIT Grand Junction Expansion - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA – Served as part of a larger team supporting the best interests of MIT in anticipation of the MBTA’s plans to expand the Grand Junction commuter rail line through campus. Ambient noise and vibration levels were measured, and future potential train-related noise and vibration levels were evaluated in accordance with FTA Transit Noise and Vibration Manual impact criteria. Of particular concern were potential impacts to dormitories, research laboratories, and a research nuclear plant located adjacent to the tracks.
- Brunswick Layover Facility - NNEPRA, Brunswick, ME – Performed an environmental/community noise and vibration assessment for a proposed Amtrak rail layover facility. Ambient noise and vibration levels were measured, and future Downeaster train operations and layover facility noise sources including HVAC and maintenance equipment were modeled using the Cadna-A model. Project-generated noise and vibration conditions were evaluated in accordance with FTA Transit Noise and Vibration Manual impact criteria.
- University of Maryland Purple Line Vibration Study – College Park, MD – Performed a comprehensive vibration impact study to evaluate the possible adverse effects of vibration from a proposed light rail line (Purple Line) on sensitive laboratory instrumentation in use at the University of Maryland. Ambient vibration measurements were performed on campus inside 16 buildings and near 30 sensitive devices.
- North Point Acoustical Design, Jones, Lang & LaSalle, Cambridge, MA – Several acoustical concerns were evaluated associated with a new development (North Point) which includes covering the MBTA Lechmere Station with a huge glass tube enclosure. Issues included (1) acoustical conditions for passenger comfort inside the glass-covered station, (2) speech intelligibility of the station’s PA system using the Articulation Index, and (3) mitigation of noise from idling Green Line trains and CNG buses affecting two adjacent buildings.
- MBTA Lechmere Station Relocation EA, Cambridge, MA – In accordance with FTA procedures, performed existing conditions noise and vibration measurements at two receptor locations and predicted future noise and vibration conditions at a dozen receptor locations in association with the MBTA’s project to relocate the Lechmere Green Line train station.
- WMATA Distressed Properties Evaluation, Washington, DC – Performed noise, vibration and light evaluations of two residences for potential adverse effects from Washington Metro transit train operations. Measurements were performed both outside and inside the residences with the results reduced and evaluated against a variety of relevant criteria limits such as those promulgated by WMATA, FTA, APTA, HUD, BoM, ANSI Std. S3.29 and Swiss SN 640312. The results indicated that while WMATA train noise and vibrations may be noticeable inside the residences, the levels did not exceed any criteria limits for annoyance, minor or major structural damage.
- MBTA Readville Noise Wall Project, Dedham, MA – Performed final acoustical and structural design for a 1500 foot long rail noise barrier which had been assessed and recommended (by others) as part of the MBTA’s Attleboro Line project. Noise barrier design criteria, material construction, and expected insertion loss benefits were researched and recommended. A rail noise model was developed to predict the barrier’s noise reduction benefits at eight residential receptor locations. The height of the wall (16 to 17 feet) was determined in order to meet the project’s noise reduction criteria goals.
- New River Rail High-Bridge Project, Tri-Rail, Everett, MA – In support of a proposed new rail bridge in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, the noise propagation characteristics of a similar rail bridge in Everett, Massachusetts were studied using multiple noise monitors arranged in a traverse pattern at various distances from the bridge. Lmax and SEL noise levels were measured as MBTA commuter trains traveled over the Mystic River on Bridge No. 7. The resulting train event noise data was reduced and curve fit in Excel to yield predicted noise levels at any distance of interest. A comparison was also done between measured noise levels and theoretical noise levels indicating that the elevated bridge structure does affect train noise propagation.
- NHDOT MBTA Commuter Rail Extension EA, Lowell MA to Nashua NH - Performed noise monitoring and noise/vibration modeling for proposed 10mile commuter rail extension project from Lowell, MA to Nashua, NH. Impact analysis was performed per 1995 FTA Manual guidelines with particular attention to train horns sounding at roadway crossings per the Swift Act using train horn noise models from the FRA. Findings were assembled in a Comprehensive Environmental Assessment in lieu of an alternatives EIS/R.
- MBTA North-South Station Link EIR, Frederic R. Harris, Inc.,
Boston, MA - Performed environmental noise and vibration analysis associated with
the proposed construction and operation of a three mile underground rail
line connecting Boston's North and South Stations. Existing
conditions were documented through the measurement of ambient noise and
vibration conditions at sensitive receptors located in the vicinities of
three proposed portal openings. Future anticipated train-operations
noise and vibration conditions were predicted at sensitive receptor
locations surrounding each of the proposed portal areas using in-house
developed versions of the FTA's prediction models. Construction
noise and vibration potential impacts were also evaluated quantitatively
using a prototypical mix of construction equipment.
- RTA Reintroduction of Trolleys on
Canal Street EIR, DMJM, Inc., New Orleans, LA – Performed environmental noise and
vibration analysis associated with the proposed reintroduction of street
car trolley service along Canal Street in New Orleans. Existing
conditions were documented through the measurement of ambient noise and
vibration conditions at sensitive receptors locations using a proto-type
refurbished PPC Presidential Street Car operated specifically for noise
and vibration emission tests. Future anticipated trolley noise and
vibration conditions were predicted at sensitive receptor locations using
in-house developed versions of the FTA's prediction models augmented with
the proto-typical PPC noise and vibration data.
- Canton Viaduct High Speed Rail EIS, HDR Engineering/MBTA, Canton, MA - The Canton
Viaduct rail overpass is 150 years old and is listed on the National
Historic Registry. As part of an overall rehabilitation study, noise
and vibration measurements were preformed to establish ambient baseline
conditions. Site specific analytical (noise) and empirical
(vibration) models were developed to predict the environmental
consequences and structural impact on the viaduct itself associated with
the proposed increased capacity of the viaduct to accommodate high speed
rail vehicles traveling upwards of 150 mph.
- North East Corridor Third Track
Harris, Providence, RI - Performed noise and vibration environmental
study regarding a proposed third track (for freight) to be built along 22
miles of the existing Northeast Rail Corridor. Field noise and
vibration data was used to develop analytical and empirical prediction