Table of Contents Hide
If you’ve ever taken the subway in New York City, you know how noisy it is. The subway system is made of 70-100-year-old railroad technology that has been shoved underground. The walls and tunnels help to reflect noise, but that doesn’t take away from the high frequency of the screeching of steel wheels. In addition, the subway runs around the clock, leaving little opportunity for track and car maintenance. And this system carries more people than most cities or countries.
The noise level in the NYC subway is extremely loud. This is a result of several factors. First, the subway system is 70 to 100 years old, which limits its ability to maintain a quiet ride. Also, trains run twenty-four hours a day, limiting maintenance time for tracks and cars. Second, the subway system has a very high passenger traffic density.
As a result, the noise levels in the subway are higher than the safe maximum for a commuter. According to the World Health Organization and the U.S. Environmental Protections Agency, a person’s eardrums should not be exposed to over 70 decibels of noise for 24 hours. However, noise levels in the NYC subway reached a maximum level of 101.9 decibels at the 86th street station in the Upper West Side.
Despite the noise level in NYC subway, there have been several improvements in the system. One study from 2009 shows that the subway noise level has decreased by more than 50 decibels. However, doctors warn that listening to such noise levels for a single minute can cause hearing damage. The subway system now has a noise absorbing barrier in many stations.
When you ride the NYC subway, you’re likely hearing a lot of sounds. The sound is made by trains’ motors, which are 70 to 100 years old. The trains also run continuously, which limits their opportunity for maintenance. This constant noise can affect the health of commuters and city residents. Studies have shown that constant noise can lead to cognitive impairment, reduced productivity, and decreased property values.
The noise level in a subway car can be between 75 to 85 decibels. However, noise levels can be much higher, depending on the station and if there are performers. Some subway stations, such as Times Square, have noise levels between 80 and 96 decibels. The 86th street station on Manhattan’s Upper West Side recorded a noise level of 101.9 decibels.
Rubber-tyred trains have long been an enticing alternative to steel wheels. They were popular in post-war Paris and proved superior on elevated lines. However, they can cause noise pollution. These noise-polluting trains can be a nuisance for city residents.
One reason that they are noisy is because of the design of their tracks. In the 1960s, underground railroads were notoriously noisy. However, technological advances have helped reduce the loud shriek of metal on metal. In the Montreal metro, for example, trains are placed in separate tracks with concrete runners.
The noise level inside the NYC subway is often deafening, particularly at the South Ferry station. This station is one of the noisiest in the country, with an average sound level of 111 decibels. One minute of listening to such noise can cause permanent hearing loss. But the New York City subway system is doing its best to make the subway system quieter. It has made changes, such as installing quieter train wheels and composite brake shoes on all subway cars.
New research has found that noise levels inside the subway exceed the maximum noise limit set by the World Health Organization and the United Nations. However, most subway stations have lower average noise levels than that. The noise level inside a subway car can reach seventy-five decibels during rush hour; a train passing by can make the noise level higher than this.
The noise levels inside the NYC subway are so high because of a combination of factors. First of all, the subway system is made of 70 to 100-year-old railroad technology. Second, the system is shoved underground and walls and tunnels are excellent at reflecting noise. Third, the trains run around the clock, meaning little time for track and car maintenance.