“Providing the rail industry with digital methods and tools capable of assessing the environmental impact of rail traffic in terms of noise and vibration.”

Context & Issues

Vibratec lead the SILVARSTAR project, winner of the European Shift2Rail Horizon 2020 program, involving six industrial and academic partners.

Although rail is a sustainable and climate-friendly mode of transport, noise and vibration remain particular environmental concerns. People living close to railroads are becoming increasingly sensitive and unable to tolerate high levels of noise and vibration.

The project focused on two areas to meet these challenges.

Develop large-scale ground vibration prediction software through the development and validation of a hybrid approach combining numerical prediction and experimental results.

To design auralization and virtual reality (VR) software tools to synthesize railway noise in high quality and enable immersive experiences of railway scenes.



Develop tools that are validated and accepted by the railway community


Develop tools to help local residents understand the acoustic impact of new rail projects


Develop a tool for predicting ground-borne noise (ground vibrations transmitted to buildings) at the scale of a line or a city.


Coordinating European academic and industrial players

Although rail is a sustainable and climate-friendly mode of transport, its impact in terms of noise and vibration remains an environmental concern: in France, over 11 million people are exposed to noise from rail transport, of which almost 1 million are exposed to high levels (source ADEME, 2021). People living close to railroads are becoming increasingly sensitive and unable to tolerate high levels of noise and vibration.

The project’s two main focuses

Develop software for large-scale prediction of structure-borne noise (ground-borne vibration transmitted to buildings), using a hybrid approach combining numerical prediction and experimental results, compatible with international standards.

Design auralisation and virtual reality (VR) software tools to realistically synthesize railway noise and conduct immersive experiences, enabling people to feel the acoustic impact of a new line before it is built.

Results & Presentation

A unique tool for studying the environmental impact of noise and vibration on a large scale

The collaboration with ISVR, KU Leuven and Vibratec will result in a unique software platform which, for the first time, will enable engineers to carry out noise and vibration environmental impact studies in the same integrated software environment. The proposed hybrid modular approach offers total modeling flexibility at every stage of the design process.

This new software product will be widely adopted by the railway engineering community.

A software tool combining auralization and VR to test acoustic situations

These new simulation tools offer a physically correct synthesis of railroad noise in the context of land-use planning, and will enable immersive audiovisual experiences in virtual reality. They will also enable the virtual testing of noise reduction technologies and the efficient testing of different scenarios. All this will facilitate decision-making and communication with public and private stakeholders, as well as users and local residents.

Project coordinator and operational manager of Vibratec

Pascal BOUVET, PhD

“Ultimately, we’ll be able to predict the impact of future rail traffic according to vehicle, track, ground and building type, while simultaneously considering acoustic and vibration impact studies.

What’s more, by combining auralization and virtual visualization, we’ll be able to provide the public authorities and other parties involved in rail projects with relevant decision-support elements.”

Key Figures

950 k€



months of work


software tools developed


scientific publications


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This project has been funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, under grant agreement no. 101015442. EC is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained in this website.

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Shift2Rail is a Joint Undertaking (JU) that brings together resources from the European Commission (with funds from Horizon 2020) and the main stakeholders in the rail sector (founding members and associate members), for a total budget of 940 million euros, aimed at guiding research activities in the rail sector.

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