1. bookVolume 25 (2021): Issue 3 (July 2021)
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01 Jan 1984
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access type Open Access

Land development policy as related to real estate influenced by railway noise in the context of allowable indicators that have been recently modified in Poland

Online veröffentlicht: 25 Jul 2021
Seitenbereich: 155 - 168
Eingereicht: 21 Feb 2021
Akzeptiert: 06 May 2021
Zeitschriftendaten
License
Format
Zeitschrift
Erstveröffentlichung
01 Jan 1984
Erscheinungsweise
4 Hefte pro Jahr
Sprachen
Englisch
Introduction

Ever larger numbers of people are living in cities. The dynamic urbanisation that began in the mid-nineteenth century was mainly driven by industrialisation. These days, it is caused by the desire for a better quality of life access to services and entertainment and, in general, improved working conditions and remuneration. Over 55% of the world's population and almost 75% of Europeans live in cities, including 60% of Poles (World Urbanization Prospects 2018). The Polish capital, Warsaw, is a good example of the considerable changes to city populations over the last 70 years. In 1951, Warsaw had 803,800 inhabitants. By 1975, 25 years later, this had risen to 1,463,400. Over the next 25 years, this number increased again to 1,671,700 and, by the beginning of 2019, Warsaw's population had reached almost 1,778,000 inhabitants (Statistical Office in Warszawa 2021). The progressive urbanisation of cities continuously reduces the amount of available land for investment. The characteristics of urbanisation and suburbanisation have become the subject of both global and local (in our case, Polish) research on different levels (Degórska 2012; ed. Śleszyński 2012; Spórna 2018; Podawca & Mrozik 2019; Podawca et al. 2019), with particular regard to the uncontrolled development of other large cities such as, for example, Barcelona (Roca et al. 2004), Rome (Di Zio & Montanari 2010), Seoul (Woo 2014), Moscow (Brade & Rudolph 2004) and metropolitan areas in the USA (Huang et al. 2017). The huge demand for apartments and services is driving the search for new sites, even if the location is not environmentally favourable for residential purposes; e.g., areas near railway lines that are subject to intense investment pressure. The landscape here currently differs both aesthetically and in development character from the surrounding regions (Ryś 2015). However, proper spatial planning of areas near railway lines should include consideration of their actual impact on the environment. Noise is the primary and most substantial risk (Makosz 2015; Podawca & Staniszewski 2019; Preis et al. 2019). According to reports from EU member states received by the European Environment Agency in 2010, railway noise during the day was a problem for about 12 million EU inhabitants who were exposed to noise levels above 55dB (EU Directive 2002/49/WE) and, at night, for about 9 million people, who were exposed to noise levels exceeding 50dB (Clausen et al. 2012). Therefore, the decision to site new residential and service buildings close to sources of railway noise should be preceded by appropriate acoustic analysis. Unfortunately, the subject literature contains many more studies on the impact of road noise (Popławska et al. 2012; Profaska 2012; Podawca 2014), or even noise from household devices (Zagubień & Wolniewicz 2017) than on the impact of noise pollution from railway infrastructure (Deja & Kopeć 2016; Podawca & Staniszewski 2019). The issue of noise pollution – including railway noise – the methodology for studying it, and the visualisation guidelines for hazard maps are presented in Felcyn et al. 2018. That paper presents a proposal for a methodology of data collection and presentation based on the example of the city of Poznań (Poland). In that case, the issue of noise pollution from railway lines was studied, in particular in the context of European standards – the Environmental Noise Directive (END); here, projects called ‘Noise Action Plans’ (NAP) deserve special attention.

The level at which railway noise causes a (negative) human response is estimated to be 42dB (Miedema & Oudshoorn 2001; Petersen & Waye 2007). For night time noise, research shows that adverse changes in sleep quality start to appear when the noise level exceeds 30dB. Such sound intensity may cause waking up (Sobotova 2010). Sleeping at the sound level of 55-60dB does not provide the desired quality of rest and almost certainly leads to waking up (Sobotova 2010; Berregard & Stansfeld 2014). The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 40dB of noise outside buildings at night is the upper limit at which people are still protected against the harmful effects of noise on sleep and health (WHO 2009).

Additionally, some reports have appeared suggesting even that the risk of heart attacks slightly increases at noise levels from 30dB to 55dB at night, (Passchier-Vermeer & Passchier 2000). Finnish studies, performed on a population of 7019 adults, showed that people with greater levels of fear and those suffering from anxiety might experience sleep disorders at levels 5dB lower than the so-called “ordinary” population, for whom such disturbances appear at night-time sounds of 50dB (Halonen et al. 2012). Environmental noise increases the risk of hypertension when exposed to levels above 65dB. The risk of hypertension increases with higher decibels (Jarup et al. 2008; Pawlas 2015). Short-term surveys show that, for each 10dB increase in the volume of sound from the surrounding environment, one can observe an increase of 1 mm Hg (95% CI: 0.3 to 1.6, p = 0.004) in systolic pressure and 0.6 mm Hg (95 % CI: 0.1 to 1.2, p = 0.025) in diastolic pressure of (Babisch et al. 2009).

Noise-prevention approaches combine all required actions aimed at improving the acoustic climate in areas at risk (Vogiatzis & Remy 2017). In general, noise-protection policy deals with two types of impact: reducing noise emitted by infrastructure facilities, (as represented by relevant indicators), and reducing the number of people who are exposed to high levels of environmental noise (as defined by existing legislation), i.e., limiting the size of residential areas.

It should be added that noise level is one of the critical factors taken into account when deciding where to live (Zwierzchowska 2017). Along with other specific parameters of a given area, such as land cover and land-use types, and other anthropogenic elements, this falls under the comprehensive concept of Ecosystem Services (ES), illustrating the potential of a particular area. ES evaluation results set the tone for the development of urban space, e.gl, towards a corresponding increase in the share of green areas. To underline this point, reference can be made to publications 2008a and 2008b by Beim and Tölle. They show that the main motivation for deciding to leave a city is a combination of multiple negative factors, among which heavy traffic and even the age and technical condition of buildings play an essential role (Beim & Tölle 2008b). Factors such as these, including noise levels, form one component of a larger puzzle that defines quality of life, shapes the main directions in spatial planning (Von der Dunk, 2011), and determines property values (Simons & Jaouhari 2004). Unique indicators (relevant for the EU – including Poland) showing the noise levels affecting people are presented in detail in Wrótny and Bohatkiewicz 2020, and Podawca and Karpiński 2021. The authors studied the impact of railway noise on quality of life with respect to acoustic maps and European Union Directive 2002/49/EC. It is particularly noticeable in this context that the relevant legal amendments concerning noise indicators, approved in Poland after 2012, may not fully meet the requirements of said Directive. To clarify these ambiguities, the new noise pollution standards (in the case of this article referring to railway noise) have been discussed extensively by the European Commission (EC Press release from 18 February 2021). What is more, one should mention crucial regulations of the EC which aim to reduce the noise level of rolling stock which runs through urbanized areas e.g., Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/429 of 13 March 2015, or Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/774 of 16 May 2019). Therefore, it can be concluded that the issue of data modelling aimed at the practical management of noise pollution is a universal one and is of particular relevance to residential areas located close to railway lines.

Research problem

The aim of the performed analysis was to show the effects of the changed legislation to increase permissible noise levels caused by railway lines (which came into force on 1 October 2012) on spatial development. As the central part of the scientific objective, the following research tasks (RT) were formulated:

demonstration of the changes which took place between 2012 and 2017 in the “acoustic climate” in selected areas – RT1;

presentation of the railway noise hazard in the analysed regions, according to the regulations on permissible noise levels from 2007 and 2012, based on a developed list of 22 superficial and quantitative features related to this hazard – RT2;

differential analysis of phenomena that appear while doing spatial research on these areas due to the reduction of permissible railway noise levels – RT3.

The research areas chosen for analysis were based on the following selection criteria:

the presence of an active railway line, through which rail transportation is conducted at national or regional level,

the existence of functions and objects within the areas which, following the applicable legal regulations, are classified as areas exposed to noise and, hence, are subject to permissible levels of railway noise,

variation in the degree of urbanisation in the area.

To investigate the above-mentioned problems, we selected three areas located in Warsaw, Poland; namely the city districts of Ursus, Białołęka and Ursynów (Fig. 1).

Figure 1

Location of the analysed areas, Warsaw, Poland

Source: own elaboration

The selection of test sites was driven by their slightly different nature, as well as their location in the territorial area of Warsaw. It should be mentioned that no investments related to the reconstruction of railway lines or other modernisation activities that could quickly change the noise parameters in the immediate vicinity have been carried out in the chosen areas. In order to draw reliable conclusions, we should add that the study areas lack noise protection screens (Ursynów, Białołęka), or only have sections of them installed along the railway lines (Ursus).

Each study area can be easily identified using the ‘Geoportal’ public map portal, authorised and maintained by the head office of the Polish Office of Geodesy and Cartography; details can be found at www.geoportal.gov.pl Moreover, the areas can also be localised using a publicly-available, interactive map of railway lines, published by Polish State Railways (http://mapa.plk-sa.pl).

The first area analysed is in Ursus (Area I), with the centroid represented by geographic coordinates: N52°11′45″, E20°53′3″. The area is delimited by the cadastral units (territorial entity for settlements in Poland) 2-09-06 - “Piastów” to the West, 2-11-09, 2-11-02 to the South, 2-09-08 to the East and 2-09-07 and 2-09-06 to the North. The analysed area covers 49.65 ha, and the railway lines take up 2.82 ha. Warszawa Ursus - Niedźwiadek railway station is located within this area, and the E65 railway line (route VI) to Katowice runs through here as well. The railway line is one of the main international routes, with permissible traffic speeds of 60 km/h to 120 km/h (with four rail gauges for different purposes).

The second study area is located in Białołęka (Area II), with the centroid represented by geographic coordinates: N52°19′45″, E21°. The area is delimited by the cadastral units 4-02-06, 4-02-11 to the West; 4-02-17, 4-17-08 to the South, 4-17-02, 4-17-06 to the East and 4-02-25 and the border of the Jabłonna municipality to the North. The analysed area covers 65.65 ha, including railway area of 2.77 ha. The railway line to Gdańsk runs through the district and the Warszawa Choszczówka railway station is situated here. The railway line is one of the main high-speed routes with permissible traffic speeds of up to 160 km/h.

The third area analysed is located in Ursynów (Area III), with the centroid represented by geographic coordinates: N52°, E21°. The area is delimited by cadastral units 1-09-60 – “Zgorzała” to the West, 1-09-69 – “Mysiadło” to the South, 01-09-70 to the East and units 01-09-57 and 01-09-55 to the North. The total study area covers 125.14 ha. In this case, the area covered by the railway is 2.84 ha, and the main railway line runs to Kraków. The railway track is also a main high-speed route with permissible traffic speeds of up to 160 km/h.

Methods

Due to the nature of the principal problem and the research methodology, the analysis was performed as a case study. The case study has become the prevalent analytical method in architecture and urban planning.

To proceed with the RT1 research task, we used acoustic maps for Warsaw from the years 2012 and 2017, produced digitally in the Polish national ‘PUWG 2000’ coordinate system by the publishing houses “BMTcom”, “SVANTEK” and “PVO” for the office of the Mayor of the Capital City of Warsaw. We used ArcGIS software to overlay the course of individual isophones on the map of each research area. Areas exposed to railway noise of different levels were determined in relation to the railway line terrains. As a result, a spatially-oriented map showing deterioration or improvement of the acoustic climate was obtained.

The implementation of task RT2, as a detailed characteristic of railway noise risk, was based on the analysis of 22 features already used in the subject literature (Podawca & Staniszewski 2019; Podawca & Karpiński 2021). These features (all abbreviations and marks in line with domestic terminology officially accepted in the legal regulations) include:

the terrain surface from the border of the railway area to the range of the isophone LN 50dB for night time marked as FLN→50dB (feature No. 1) and to the range of the isophone LN 59dB for night time marked as FLN→59dB (feature No. 2);

the terrain surface from the border of the railway area to the range of the isophone LDWN 55dB for the day-evening-night time, marked as FLDWN→55dB (feature No. 3), to the range of the isophone LDWN 60dB for the day-evening-night time, marked as FLDWN→60dB (feature No. 4), to the range of the LDWN isophones 64dB in the day-evening-night time, marked as FLDWN→64dB (feature No. 5), to the range of the LDWN isophone 68dB for the day-evening-night time, marked as FLDWN→68dB (feature number 6);

the number of buildings exposed to above-normal noise situated within the LN 50dB isophone at night time according to the regulations from 2007, marked as LB→50dBLN (feature No. 7), the number of buildings located within the isophone LN 59dB at night time according to the rules from 2012, marked as LBLN→59dB (feature No. 8), the number of buildings located within the isophone LDWN 55dB in the day-evening-night time according to the regulations from 2007, marked as LBLDWN→55dB (feature No. 9), the number of buildings located within the isophone LDWN 60dB in the day-evening-night time according to the rules from 2007, marked as LBLDWN→60dB (feature No. 11), and the number of buildings located within the LDWN 68dB isophone in the day-evening-night time according to the rules of 2012, marked as LBLDWN→68dB (feature No. 12);

the distance of the nearest multi-family residential buildings from the railway area, marked as LMZW→TK (feature No. 13), from the axis of the outermost railway line, marked as LZM→OT (feature No. 14);

the distance of the nearest one-family residential buildings from the railway area, marked as LZJ→TK (feature No. 15), from the axis of the outermost railway line, marked as LZJ→OT (feature No. 16);

areas of residential, one-family housing where children and adolescents stay permanently or temporarily, nursing homes and city hospitals located within the range of the LDWN 55dB isophone, marked as FTULDWN→55dB (feature No. 17), and located within the range of the LDWN 64dB isophone, marked as FTULDWN→64dB (feature No. 18);

areas of multi-family and collective residences, farm buildings, recreation and leisure, residential and service areas located within the isophone LDWN 60dB, marked as FTULDWN→60dB (feature No. 19), and located within the isophone LDWN 68dB, marked as FTULDWN→68dB (feature No. 20);

areas of one-family housing connected with the permanent or temporary stay of children and youth, social care homes, city hospitals, multi-family and collective housing, farm buildings, recreation and leisure, residential and service buildings located within the isophone LN 50dB, marked as FTULN→50dB (feature No. 21), and located within range of isophone LN 59dB, marked as FTULN→59dB (feature No. 22).

The terms “day”, “evening” and “night” are precisely defined in Directive 2002/49/EC of the European Parliament and Council of 25 June 2002. The definition determines “day” as between 6:00 to 18:00 (6:00AM to 6:00PM), “evening” from 18:00 to 22:00 (6:00PM to 10:00PM) and “night” from 22:00 to 6:00 (10:00PM to 6:00AM).

The most analytical task, RT3, utilises a proprietary set of indicators. The indicators were based on the Regulation of the Ministry of the Environment from 1 October 2012 concerning the permissible environmental noise levels according to art. 113 § 1 of the Legal Act from 27 April 2001 – Environment Protection Law and the Regulation of the Ministry of the Environment from 14 June 2007 on permissible noise levels in the environment. We have proposed nine relevant indicators of so-called “Acoustic release” which are listed in Table 1.

Analysis indicators

Indicator name Indicator symbol Indicator formula
„Acoustic release” - Night WUALN FLN50dBFLN59dBFLN50dB {{{F_{LN \to 50dB}} - {F_{LN \to 59dB}}} \over {{F_{LN \to 50dB}}}}
“Acoustic release” - Day-Dawn-Night W1UALDWN FLDWN55dBFLDWN64dBFLDWN55dB {{{F_{LDWN \to 55dB}} - {F_{LDWN \to 64dB}}} \over {{F_{LDWN \to 55dB}}}}
W2UALDWN FLDWN60dBFLDWN68dBFLDWN60dB {{{F_{LDWN \to 60dB}} - {F_{LDWN \to 68dB}}} \over {{F_{LDWN \to 60dB}}}}
“Acoustic-functional release” - Night WUFALN FTULN50dBFTULN59dBFTULN50dB {{FT{U_{LN \to 50dB}} - FT{U_{LN \to 59dB}}} \over {FT{U_{LN \to 50dB}}}}
“Acoustic-functional release” - Day-Dawn-Night W1UFALDWN FTULDWN55dBFTULDWN64dBFTULDWN55dB {{FT{U_{LDWN \to 55dB}} - FT{U_{LDWN \to 64dB}}} \over {FT{U_{LDWN \to 55dB}}}}
W2UFALDWN FTULDWN60dBFTULDWN68dBFTULDWN60dB {{FT{U_{LDWN \to 60dB}} - FT{U_{LDWN \to 68dB}}} \over {FT{U_{LDWN \to 60dB}}}}
„Construction-acoustic” - General/Night WBALN LBLN50dBLBLN59dBLBLN50dB {{L{B_{LN \to 50dB}} - L{B_{LN \to 59dB}}} \over {L{B_{LN \to 50dB}}}}
“Construction-acoustic” – General/Day-Dawn-Night W1BALDWN LBLDWN55dBLBLDWN64dBLBLDWN55dB {{L{B_{LDWN \to 55dB}} - L{B_{LDWN \to 64dB}}} \over {L{B_{LDWN \to 55dB}}}}
W2BALDWN LBLDWN60dBLBLDWN68dBLBLDWN60dB {{L{B_{LDWN \to 60dB}} - L{B_{LDWN \to 68dB}}} \over {L{B_{LDWN \to 60dB}}}}

Source: own elaboration

Results and discussion

Isophones indicated on the acoustic maps as the result of interpolation of the 59dB, 64dB and 68dB levels performed for the two periods: 2012 and 2017 (Table 2).

Areas and percentage shares of the terrains with exceeded noise levels caused by rail noise within the analysed boundaries according to acoustic maps from 2012 and 2017

Isophone name DISTRICT Year 2012 Year 2017
Noise-endangered area Terrain percentage Noise-endangered area Terrain percentage
[ha] [%] [ha] [%]
LN → 59 dB URSUS (I) 3.79 7.64 6.46 13.03
LDWN → 64 dB 8.61 17.38 10.10 20.38
LDWN → 68 dB 4.33 8.74 4.94 9.96
LN → 59 dB BIAŁOŁĘKA (II) 4.55 6.93 10.99 16.74
LDWN → 64 dB 6.68 10.18 14.09 21.46
LDWN → 68 dB 2.71 4.13 7.71 11.74
LN → 59 dB URSYNÓW (III) 1.53 1.23 1.27 1.01
LDWN → 64 dB 4.13 3.30 3.07 2.45
LDWN → 68 dB 1.23 0.98 0.85 0.68

Source: own elaboration

The calculated results show that the acoustic environment deteriorated in areas with a higher degree of urbanisation (Areas I and II). This deterioration was 5.39% in Area I and 9.81% in Area II in the night time. In the case of day-evening-night time, the relevant differences were smaller in Area I, 3% for 64dB and 1.22% for 68dB, but much more significant in Area II, 11.28% for 64dB and 7.61% for 68dB. The increasing area of the terrains exposed to railway noise may indicate a deterioration in the technical condition of the rails and rolling stock as well as a failure to install noise-reduction elements as part of the spatial development which took place. In the case of the least urbanised area located within Area III, the acoustic conditions over the five years remained at similar levels and even slightly improved by 0.22% at night (at 59dB) and 0.85% (at 64dB), and by 0,3% (at 68dB) for day/evening/night time.

The results concerning the spatial and construction features resulting from the risk of a railway noise are given in Table 3.

Features of sensitivity to noise within the boundaries of the analysed areas

Feature No. Feature symbol Feature unit Feature value
URSUS (I) BIAŁOŁĘKA (II) URSYNÓW (III)
1 FLN→50dB m2 208 637 323 317 120 815
2 FLN→59dB m2 64 584 109 909 12 656
3 FLDWN→55dB m2 254 671 412 510 197 708
4 FLDWN→60dB m2 166 783 242 193 79 266
5 FLDWN→64dB m2 101 011 140 877 30 685
6 FLDWN→68dB m2 49 357 77 107 8 495
7 LBLN→50dB units 138 163 12
8 LBLN→59dB units 38 39 0
9 LBLDWN→55dB units 171 197 27
10 LBLDWN→60dB units 102 124 7
11 LBLDWN→64dB units 55 59 1
12 LBLDWN→68dB units 33 17 0
13 LMZW→TK m 64 - -
14 LZM→OT m 75 - -
15 LZJ→TK m 11 22 18
16 LZJ→OT m 24 34 24
17 FTULDWN→55dB m2 58 305 14 3670 17 326
18 FTULDWN→64dB m2 1 643 48 851 1 096
19 FTULDWN→60dB m2 61 237 99 139 4 157
20 FTULDWN→68dB m2 1 643 25 607 255
21 FTULN→50dB m2 91 538 134 242 8 531
22 FTULN→59dB m2 6 550 39 126 351

- indicators that were in force before 2012

- new obligatory indicators

Source: own elaboration

The values of the acoustic and spatial indicators for the analysed areas are presented in Table 4.

The values of acoustic indicators within the analysed areas

Feature symbol Feature value
URSUS (Area I) BIAŁOŁĘKA (Area II) URSYNÓW (Area III)
WUA LN 0.38 0.66 0.90
W1UALDWN 0.60 0.66 0.98
W2UALDWN 0.70 0.68 0.89
WUFALN 0.93 0.71 0.96
W1UFALDWN 0.97 0.66 0.64
W2UFALDWN 0.97 0.74 0.94
WBALN 0.72 0.76 1.00
W1BALDWN 0.68 0.71 0.96
W2BALDWN 0.67 0.86 1.00

Source: own elaboration

Analysing the above values, one can conclude that permissible levels of railway noise influence the interpretation of acoustic hazard in urbanised areas. Based on the results shown in Table 4, the amendment to the legal regulations has reduced the size of areas considered as noise-sensitive by 38% within Area I (Ursus) (Fig. 2), 66% in Area II (Białołęka) (Fig. 4) and by as much as 90% in Area III (Ursynów) (Fig. 6). The amendment directly led to a fall in the number of buildings exposed to noise pollution and their inhabitants. In Area I, one can observe a fall of 72%; in Area II – 76%, and in Area III the potential threat was entirely eliminated. The increase in the permissible noise standards LDWN for the day-evening-night time, from 55dB to 64dB, resulted in a reduction of the area considered to be threatened by railway noise by 60% in Area I (Fig. 3), 66% in Area II (Fig. 5) and as much as 98% in Area III (Fig. 7). Similarly, it reduced the number of buildings considered to be threatened by 68% in Area I, 71% in Area II and as much as 96% in Area III. The changes looked even more unfavourable where LDWN noise levels were increased from 60dB to 68dB. The areas at risk in Area I (Ursus) were reduced by 70% (Fig. 3), in Area II (Białołęka) by 68% (Fig. 5), and in Area III (Ursynów) by 89% (Fig. 7). For the 60dB LDWN, this was, in turn, 67%, 86% and 100%.

Figure 2

The area of “acoustic release” after changing the permissible sound levels in the night time in the area under analysis, Area 1 (Ursus)

Source: own elaboration

Figure 3

The area of “acoustic release” after changing the permissible sound levels in the day-evening-night time in the area under analysis, Area 1 (Ursus)

Source: own elaboration

Figure 4

The area of “acoustic release” after changing the permissible sound levels in the night time in the area under analysis, Area II (Białołęka)

Source: own elaboration

Figure 5

The area of “acoustic release” when changing the permissible sound levels in the day-evening-night time in the area under analysis, Area II (Białołęka)

Source: own elaboration

Figure 6

The area of “acoustic release” after changing the permissible sound levels in the night time in the area under analysis, Area III (Ursynów)

Source: own elaboration

Figure 7

The area of “acoustic release” when changing the permissible sound levels in the day-evening-night time in the area under analysis, Area III (Ursynów)

Source: own elaboration

The indicators of functional and acoustic release are more objective because they refer only to areas that are considered noise-sensitive according to the legal regulation. Regarding single-family housing areas, buildings related to the permanent or temporary dwelling of children and youth, social care homes and city hospitals, the change of the permissible value of the LDWN parameter from 55dB to 64dB resulted in the reduction of the size of the hazardous areas by 97% in Area I, 66% in Area II and by 64% in Area III. For multi-family and collective housing, farm buildings, recreational, residential and service buildings, the amendment to the legal regulation resulted in a decrease in the area affected by railway noise of 97% in Area I, 74% in Area II and 94% in Area III. In the context of night time, the change in the permissible noise level from 50dB to 59dB led to a reduction in the size of noise-sensitive areas of 93% in Area I, 71% in Area II and 96% in Area III.

Conclusions

The studies performed made it possible to solve the research tasks (RT's) presented in the “Research problem” section. The performed analysis confirms that the acoustic climate in the study areas has deteriorated over the five years between 2012 and 2017 (RT1). In the districts of Ursus and Białołęka (Areas I and II), the surface area of the isophone ranges LDWN68, LDWN64, LDWN60, LDWN55, LN50 and LN59 increased between 2012 and 2017. Meanwhile, the acoustic climate in Area III (Ursynów) remained relatively stable.

The introduction of amendments to the legal regulation on permissible noise levels has led to significant release of land dedicated to future investments without requiring additional expenditure to reduce excessive noise. Increasing the allowable railway noise indicators LN and LDWN has meant that, in areas with high and medium degrees of urbanisation, the amount of land with functions sensitive to noise fell by between 40% to 70% and, in less urbanised areas, by as much as 90–100% (RT2). It follows that the calculations for distances to buildings considered to be exposed to noise do not entirely result from acoustic hazard, but are rather defined by the regulations of the Act on the Railway Transport (2003).

Increasing the LN from 50dB to 59dB and the LDWN from 55dB to 64dB (night time) and from 60dB to 68dB (day-night) is beneficial for investors and contractors who can develop areas close to railways without investing in additional noise reduction measures. On the other hand, increasing permissible noise levels by as much as 9dB should be considered very shocking and negative for the health of future residents. They will probably not be satisfied with the acoustic climate despite the fact that the applicable standards theoretically do not exceed permissible noise levels in areas near railway lines (RT3).

This conclusion clearly shows that the increase in permissible noise levels was driven more by industrial and economic factors than health and social concerns. By deciding to increase permissible noise levels in the environment, it is a challenge to ensure appropriate, balanced spatial planning of urban areas in the proximity of railway lines. Although these analyses are based on the example of Warsaw, the situation could be generalised and applied to similar places where land is developed in the proximity of railways.

Figure 1

Location of the analysed areas, Warsaw, PolandSource: own elaboration
Location of the analysed areas, Warsaw, PolandSource: own elaboration

Figure 2

The area of “acoustic release” after changing the permissible sound levels in the night time in the area under analysis, Area 1 (Ursus)Source: own elaboration
The area of “acoustic release” after changing the permissible sound levels in the night time in the area under analysis, Area 1 (Ursus)Source: own elaboration

Figure 3

The area of “acoustic release” after changing the permissible sound levels in the day-evening-night time in the area under analysis, Area 1 (Ursus)Source: own elaboration
The area of “acoustic release” after changing the permissible sound levels in the day-evening-night time in the area under analysis, Area 1 (Ursus)Source: own elaboration

Figure 4

The area of “acoustic release” after changing the permissible sound levels in the night time in the area under analysis, Area II (Białołęka)Source: own elaboration
The area of “acoustic release” after changing the permissible sound levels in the night time in the area under analysis, Area II (Białołęka)Source: own elaboration

Figure 5

The area of “acoustic release” when changing the permissible sound levels in the day-evening-night time in the area under analysis, Area II (Białołęka)Source: own elaboration
The area of “acoustic release” when changing the permissible sound levels in the day-evening-night time in the area under analysis, Area II (Białołęka)Source: own elaboration

Figure 6

The area of “acoustic release” after changing the permissible sound levels in the night time in the area under analysis, Area III (Ursynów)Source: own elaboration
The area of “acoustic release” after changing the permissible sound levels in the night time in the area under analysis, Area III (Ursynów)Source: own elaboration

Figure 7

The area of “acoustic release” when changing the permissible sound levels in the day-evening-night time in the area under analysis, Area III (Ursynów)Source: own elaboration
The area of “acoustic release” when changing the permissible sound levels in the day-evening-night time in the area under analysis, Area III (Ursynów)Source: own elaboration

Analysis indicators

Indicator name Indicator symbol Indicator formula
„Acoustic release” - Night WUALN FLN50dBFLN59dBFLN50dB {{{F_{LN \to 50dB}} - {F_{LN \to 59dB}}} \over {{F_{LN \to 50dB}}}}
“Acoustic release” - Day-Dawn-Night W1UALDWN FLDWN55dBFLDWN64dBFLDWN55dB {{{F_{LDWN \to 55dB}} - {F_{LDWN \to 64dB}}} \over {{F_{LDWN \to 55dB}}}}
W2UALDWN FLDWN60dBFLDWN68dBFLDWN60dB {{{F_{LDWN \to 60dB}} - {F_{LDWN \to 68dB}}} \over {{F_{LDWN \to 60dB}}}}
“Acoustic-functional release” - Night WUFALN FTULN50dBFTULN59dBFTULN50dB {{FT{U_{LN \to 50dB}} - FT{U_{LN \to 59dB}}} \over {FT{U_{LN \to 50dB}}}}
“Acoustic-functional release” - Day-Dawn-Night W1UFALDWN FTULDWN55dBFTULDWN64dBFTULDWN55dB {{FT{U_{LDWN \to 55dB}} - FT{U_{LDWN \to 64dB}}} \over {FT{U_{LDWN \to 55dB}}}}
W2UFALDWN FTULDWN60dBFTULDWN68dBFTULDWN60dB {{FT{U_{LDWN \to 60dB}} - FT{U_{LDWN \to 68dB}}} \over {FT{U_{LDWN \to 60dB}}}}
„Construction-acoustic” - General/Night WBALN LBLN50dBLBLN59dBLBLN50dB {{L{B_{LN \to 50dB}} - L{B_{LN \to 59dB}}} \over {L{B_{LN \to 50dB}}}}
“Construction-acoustic” – General/Day-Dawn-Night W1BALDWN LBLDWN55dBLBLDWN64dBLBLDWN55dB {{L{B_{LDWN \to 55dB}} - L{B_{LDWN \to 64dB}}} \over {L{B_{LDWN \to 55dB}}}}
W2BALDWN LBLDWN60dBLBLDWN68dBLBLDWN60dB {{L{B_{LDWN \to 60dB}} - L{B_{LDWN \to 68dB}}} \over {L{B_{LDWN \to 60dB}}}}

The values of acoustic indicators within the analysed areas

Feature symbol Feature value
URSUS (Area I) BIAŁOŁĘKA (Area II) URSYNÓW (Area III)
WUA LN 0.38 0.66 0.90
W1UALDWN 0.60 0.66 0.98
W2UALDWN 0.70 0.68 0.89
WUFALN 0.93 0.71 0.96
W1UFALDWN 0.97 0.66 0.64
W2UFALDWN 0.97 0.74 0.94
WBALN 0.72 0.76 1.00
W1BALDWN 0.68 0.71 0.96
W2BALDWN 0.67 0.86 1.00

Features of sensitivity to noise within the boundaries of the analysed areas

Feature No. Feature symbol Feature unit Feature value
URSUS (I) BIAŁOŁĘKA (II) URSYNÓW (III)
1 FLN→50dB m2 208 637 323 317 120 815
2 FLN→59dB m2 64 584 109 909 12 656
3 FLDWN→55dB m2 254 671 412 510 197 708
4 FLDWN→60dB m2 166 783 242 193 79 266
5 FLDWN→64dB m2 101 011 140 877 30 685
6 FLDWN→68dB m2 49 357 77 107 8 495
7 LBLN→50dB units 138 163 12
8 LBLN→59dB units 38 39 0
9 LBLDWN→55dB units 171 197 27
10 LBLDWN→60dB units 102 124 7
11 LBLDWN→64dB units 55 59 1
12 LBLDWN→68dB units 33 17 0
13 LMZW→TK m 64 - -
14 LZM→OT m 75 - -
15 LZJ→TK m 11 22 18
16 LZJ→OT m 24 34 24
17 FTULDWN→55dB m2 58 305 14 3670 17 326
18 FTULDWN→64dB m2 1 643 48 851 1 096
19 FTULDWN→60dB m2 61 237 99 139 4 157
20 FTULDWN→68dB m2 1 643 25 607 255
21 FTULN→50dB m2 91 538 134 242 8 531
22 FTULN→59dB m2 6 550 39 126 351

Areas and percentage shares of the terrains with exceeded noise levels caused by rail noise within the analysed boundaries according to acoustic maps from 2012 and 2017

Isophone name DISTRICT Year 2012 Year 2017
Noise-endangered area Terrain percentage Noise-endangered area Terrain percentage
[ha] [%] [ha] [%]
LN → 59 dB URSUS (I) 3.79 7.64 6.46 13.03
LDWN → 64 dB 8.61 17.38 10.10 20.38
LDWN → 68 dB 4.33 8.74 4.94 9.96
LN → 59 dB BIAŁOŁĘKA (II) 4.55 6.93 10.99 16.74
LDWN → 64 dB 6.68 10.18 14.09 21.46
LDWN → 68 dB 2.71 4.13 7.71 11.74
LN → 59 dB URSYNÓW (III) 1.53 1.23 1.27 1.01
LDWN → 64 dB 4.13 3.30 3.07 2.45
LDWN → 68 dB 1.23 0.98 0.85 0.68

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