Research finds discount of low-frequency noise from transition to electrical buses improved residents’ well being


The well being of residents residing alongside a bus route in Gothenburg, Sweden, improved when hybrid buses had been changed by buses absolutely powered by electrical energy. Accompanying the decrease noise ranges from bus visitors was a discount of fatigue, day time sleepiness and low temper, a examine on the College of Gothenburg exhibits. Within the fall of 2019, all-electric buses had been launched on bus route 60 in Gothenburg. The implementation was linked to the ElectriCity undertaking, with its individuals from business, analysis, and public companies working for sustainable journey in an city setting.


Picture: Eddie Löthman/Västtrafik

In locations, the roads alongside this bus route in query are extremely uneven. Noise ranges from the previous system of bus transportation had been perceived as disturbing, particularly on the uphill stretches. Earlier noise-level measurements had indicated that disturbance from low-frequency noise in indoor environments was current within the residential space.

How a lot the electrical bus transportation would have an effect on the noise ranges was not clear, and the identical utilized to how individuals’s well being can be influenced. The low-frequency noise was notably essential, because it has a excessive disturbance potential and it’s additional much less properly attenuated by façades or noise limitations.

We might be disturbed by completely different noises, however the situation with low-frequency noise is that it’s attenuated much less properly by facades or home windows and due to this fact intrudes into individuals’s properties extra simply. Even small will increase in its degree are perceived as very noticeable.

—Kerstin Persson Waye, Professor of Environmental Drugs at Sahlgrenska Academy, College of Gothenburg, who heads the Sound Surroundings and Well being group that performed the analysis

(A 2020 assessment of literature analyzing the primary results of low-frequency noise on human well being (Alves et al.) discovered that the primary results on human well being are extra prevalent in facets equivalent to sleep issues (11.7%), discomfort, sensitivity and irritability to noise (10%), annoyance (13.3%), stress (6.7%), listening to loss (8.3%), diminished efficiency/fatigue (5%), coronary heart fee/cardiovascular illnesses (10%), rigidity and blood strain (6.7%), anxiousness (1.7%), melancholy (3.3%), imbalance (3.3%), and psychological efficiency (6.7%).

There have been additionally different results on human well being however with an incidence in very particular facets (13.3%), such because the frequency of chromosomal aberrations in bone marrow cells, extra bilirubin, peptic ulcers (gastric and duodenal), results on the cerebral blood barrier, haemodynamic occasions, irreversible imbalance with structural injury to the otoconial membrane, tinnitus and sound reconversion remedy, and vocal issues and energy.)

The Gothenburg examine concerned questionnaire surveys of randomly chosen residents in two phases, earlier than and after the change to electrical buses. Half of the residents lived in properties that lined the bus route in two metropolis districts: Masthugget and Lunden. The opposite half, who lived a ways away, made up the reference group.

In parallel, noise measurements had been carried out in a number of properties—together with indoors, which isn’t in any other case commonplace process. These measurements required particular rigging with 10–12 microphones in every dwelling unit to supply appropriate and consultant information of the low-frequency noise.

The adjustments that befell between phases one and two had been clear and statistically vital. They utilized to adjustments of the sound ranges particularly within the low frequencies, what the residents themselves observed, and their reported noise annoyance. For instance, the proportion of respondents who observed noise from buses fell from 75 to 39 p.c, and the proportion who had been noise aggravated to a really excessive diploma decreased from 26 to five p.c.

There was additionally a transparent discount of perceived well being results. The proportion who felt exhausted a couple of times every week declined from 49 to 39 p.c—that’s, all the way down to the identical proportion as within the reference group. The proportion who had been in a low temper decreased from 22 to 17 p.c, and significantly fewer additionally acknowledged that they had been very sleepy within the daytime.

So, there was an enchancment: Individuals felt considerably higher. Though we will’t say with certainty that the outcomes mirror the entire inhabitants and the way lasting the constructive well being adjustments are, we predict they might be generalizable in residential settings the place bus transportation makes up a big share of the publicity. Given, too, that different types of transportation within the city atmosphere are getting extra silent, this might affect public well being.

—Kerstin Persson Waye

Respondents within the examine numbered 1,326 in Part 1, June–September 2019 (response fee: 34 p.c) and 1,191 in Part 2 the next yr (response fee: 36 p.c). The response fee was as anticipated.

To research whether or not those that didn’t reply differed from the respondents, a follow-up examine was performed with a simplified questionnaire within the group who didn’t reply. No main variations in perceptions of the noise state of affairs had been discovered, however the degree of schooling and the proportion who owned their residence had been decrease within the group who had chosen to not take part within the giant survey.


  • Research report (in Swedish)

  • Araújo Alves J, Neto Paiva F, Torres Silva L, Remoaldo P. (2020) “Low-Frequency Noise and Its Fundamental Results on Human Well being—A Assessment of the Literature between 2016 and 2019.” Utilized Sciences. 10(15):5205. doi: 10.3390/app10155205


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