2017 Integrated Report – Departure into a new era

Noise remediation and prevention continues

Noise remediation and prevention

in Germany as of Dec 31




Noise remediation (existing network)

Sound barriers erected (km) 1)




Homes with passive measures




Track kilometers noise remediated in total 2) (rounded) (km)




Noise prevention (new construction
and expansion lines)

Sound barriers erected (km)




Homes with passive measures 3) (rounded)


1) Determined on the basis of the funds spent.
2) Accumulated length of track of noise remediation areas (according to Annex 1 of the overall concept “noise remediation program”) from noise remediation projects with completed active noise protection measures (sound barriers) and initiated passive noise protection measures (noise protection at homes), including sections to be remediated in new construction and expansion projects.
3) The previous years’ figures are under review.

The “Voluntary noise remediation program for existing rail lines of the Federal Government” launched by the Federal Government in 1999 has made life quieter for residents living near railway lines. Noise remediation measuresNo. 25 are to be implemented by the end of 2020 on 2,000 kilometers of the approximately 3,700 kilometers of track currently classified as having especially high noise levels. A list of priorities defines where the highest impacts are and sets out the sequence in which noise remediation will be performed in these places. The Federal Government pro­vided a total of € 150 million for noise remediation measures in the year under review. This finances not only the measures of the voluntary noise remediation program, but also the funding program for the conversion of freight cars and other noise protection projects. Of this amount, about € 110 million was spent on active and passive noise protection measures under the noise remediation program. The progress made in noise remediation of lines corresponds largely with our forecast from the 2016 Integrated Report.

The abolition of the “railway bonus” and a further reduction of the threshold values of the voluntary noise remediation program of the Federal Government to 57 dB at night in residential areas have laid the groundwork to provide residents with even better protection against rail noise. As a result, the Federal Government’s voluntary noise remediation programNo. 101 has to be fundamentally revised. It can be assumed that the volume of lines covered by the revised noise remediation program will increase. The sections of track that have already been remediated will also be included in the study. The revision of the noise remediation program is expected to be completed by spring 2018. The BMVI will then publish the revised version.

For the period 2016 to 2018, the Federal Government is providing funding totaling about € 1 billion through the capital expenditure Program for the Future Zukunftsinvestitionsprogramm; ZIP) for infrastructure proj­ects. An amount in the high double-digit millions will also be used to finance additional noise protection measures, including in regions particularly affected by railway noise, such as the Inn Valley and the Middle Rhine Valley.

Following the signing of financing agreements between the Federal Government, the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse, and DB Group in March 2017, the way is now clear to improve noise abatement in the Middle Rhine Valley. Overall, just under € 73 million will go into additional noise reduction projects on both sides of the Rhine through 2021 and beyond. Among other things, this will involve the use of rail dampers and noise protection walls. About 50 noise abatement measures will further reduce rail transport noise. The noise situation will also improve noticeably for 10,000 residents living in the Inn Valley on the Munich –­Rosenheim – Kiefersfelden rail line. BMVI, the Free State of Bavaria and DB Group agreed in September 2017 that further noise remediation measures would be implemented on the approximately 100-km-long line, which is heavily frequented by freight trains entering the Brenner Pass.

In contrast to the voluntary noise remediation program for existing rail lines, the residents’ right to noise protection when expanding lines or building new lines is enshrined in the Federal Immission Control Act. There are numerous noise remediation options to prevent noise, the extent of which always depends on the number and progress of the individual projects.