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NEC FUTURE

Tier 1 EIS

Tier 1 Final EIS

Volume 2

7.12 Noise and Vibration

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Table of Contents

7.12.1 Introduction

This section describes noise- and vibration-sensitive receptors in the Affected Environment and includes the evaluation of potential Environmental Consequences of the Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Tier 1 Draft EIS) Action Alternatives on these resources.

7.12.1.1 Definition of Resource

Noise - typically defined as unwanted or undesirable sound - is generated by railway-related sources such as vehicle engines, wheel-rail interaction, and audible warning devices, including train horns, which may cause annoyance at nearby sensitive receptors. In the case of high-speed rail, aerodynamic noise can be generated when train speeds start to exceed 160 miles per hour (mph).

Vibration - defined as oscillatory motion - is generated by wheel-rail interaction from railway operations. Such vibration is transmitted through the track structure into the ground and may be perceptible and disturb people or sensitive activities in nearby buildings.

Appendix E, Section E.12, provides more-detailed definitions of noise and vibration.

7.12.1.2 Effects-Assessment Methodology

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) developed a specific effects-assessment methodology for each of the resource categories identified in the Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment Methodology, Appendix E. The methodology provides a detailed definition of each category, describes the data sources used for the evaluation, and explains how the Affected Environment was defined and established and how the effects on each resource were evaluated and reported. Table 7.12-1 summarizes key factors associated with the methodologies for each resource category evaluated.

Table 7.12-1: Methodological Summary: Noise and Vibration
Resource Category Affected Environment Type of Assessment Outcome
Noise 5,000-foot-wide swath centered along Representative Route for each Action Alternative Quantitative:
Day-Night Sound Level, Ldn (dBA)
Estimated population within noise impact zones; presence of parks, ecologically sensitive habitats and cultural/historic properties within the Affected Environment potentially affected by the Representative Route of the Action Alternatives
Vibration Quantitative:
Vibration Velocity Level (VdB)
Estimated population within vibration impact zones; presence of parks, ecologically sensitive habitats and cultural/historic properties within the Affected Environment potentially affected by the Representative Route of the Action Alternatives

Source: NEC FUTURE Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment Methodology, Appendix E, Section E.12, 2014

Field measurements were not conducted for this Tier 1 analysis. All reported existing and future noise and vibration levels are estimates. Noise and vibration from rail sources were estimated using FRA and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) prediction models based on data for existing and future rail operations. The estimated noise from rail operations was combined with estimates of noise from nearby major highways and airports, as well as estimates of typical levels of community background noise to estimate overall existing and future noise exposure levels.

7.12.2 Resource Overview

Within the Study Area, the areas of greatest concern for noise and vibration effects include densely populated areas, particularly those that are not currently within existing rail or highway corridors and therefore have lower existing noise and vibration levels. Within the Affected Environment of all the Action Alternatives, these areas include dense urban areas in Baltimore, Philadelphia, northern New Jersey, and New York City, as well as suburban areas in Long Island, NY, Westchester County, NY, and a number of communities in Connecticut. Areas with concentrations of other sensitive land use, such as parks, wildlife refuges and cultural/historic resources, are also of concern. Within the Affected Environment, locations where these resources are concentrated include Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Providence, and Boston, as well as suburban and rural areas of Maryland, northern New Jersey, Long Island, coastal Connecticut, and rural areas of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

7.12.3 Affected Environment

Existing transportation-related noise and vibration sources within the Affected Environment include passenger trains, freight trains, highways, and airports. Land uses sensitive to noise and vibration within the Affected Environment include residential, institutional, and park lands. Table 7.12-2 summarizes these sensitive land uses by state and county. Appendix A, Mapping Atlas, includes graphics that identify various types of land use.

For purposes of this Tier 1 Draft EIS, the FRA did not identify detailed data on the specific uses at parks. As such, the FRA is considering all parks as potentially sensitive. Furthermore, the FRA did not identify specific community facilities such as churches, schools, or hospitals. During more-detailed Tier 2 analysis, specific park uses would be identified to determine if a park resource should be considered as a sensitive receptor and specific community facilities that may be affected by noise and vibration would be identified.

The FRA used a distance of 100 feet - a standard reference for railway noise and vibration in the United States - as a reference distance to estimate existing noise and vibration levels from the Representative Routes for the existing NEC and Action Alternatives.

Table 7.12-3 provides ranges for the existing noise and vibration levels by state and county, which represent conditions at sensitive receptors closest to the Representative Routes. (Appendix E, Section E.12, contains a more detailed description of the noise and vibration within the Affected Environment, including noise and vibration levels 50-800 feet from the Representative Routes.)

Table 7.12-2: Affected Environment: Noise and Vibration - Sensitive Land Uses
Geography County Noise- and Vibration-Sensitive Land Use
D.C.   Residences, schools, religious facilities, and parks
MD Prince George's Residences, schools, religious facilities, and parks
Anne Arundel Residences, religious facilities, and parks
Baltimore Residences, schools, religious facilities, cemeteries, hospital, and parks
Harford Residences, schools, religious facilities, and parks
Cecil Residences, schools, religious facilities, and parks
DE New Castle Residences, schools, religious facilities, health care center, prison, and parks
PA Delaware Residences, schools, religious facilities, and parks
Philadelphia Residences, schools, religious facilities, cemetery, hospital, prison, and parks
Bucks Residences, schools, religious facilities, cemeteries, and parks
NJ Mercer Residences, schools, religious facilities, and parks
Middlesex Residences, schools, religious facilities, and parks
Union Residences, schools, religious facilities, cemeteries, and parks
Essex Residences, schools, religious facilities, cemeteries, and parks
Hudson Residences, schools, religious facilities, and parks
NY New York Residences, schools, religious facilities, hospitals, hotels, and parks
Kings Residences
Queens Residences, schools, religious facilities, cemeteries, and parks
Bronx Residences, schools, religious facilities, hospital, hotel, and parks
Westchester Residences, schools, religious facilities, cemeteries, library, prison, and parks
Putnam Low-density residential development
Nassau Residences, schools, religious facilities, and parks
Suffolk Residences, schools, religious facilities, cemeteries, and parks
CT Fairfield Residences, schools, religious facilities, hotels, cemeteries, hospitals, and parks
New Haven Residences, schools, religious facilities, hospitals, cemeteries, hotel, library, performing arts center, and parks
Hartford Residences, schools, religious facilities, cemeteries, hospitals, and parks
Tolland Residences, schools, religious facilities, and parks
Windham Residences
Middlesex Residences, schools, religious facilities, and parks
New London Residences, schools, religious facilities, hospitals, hotels, and parks
RI Washington Residences, schools, religious facilities, medical facilities, cemeteries, and parks
Kent Residences, school, religious facility, library, and hotels
Providence Residences, schools, religious facilities, hospitals, hotel, prison, cemetery, library, parks, and the Rhode Island State House
MA Bristol Residences, schools, and religious facilities
Worcester Residences, schools, religious facilities, hotels, hospitals, cemeteries, library, theater, and parks
Middlesex Residences, schools, religious facilities, and a hospital
Norfolk Residences, schools, religious facilities, cemeteries, and parks
Suffolk Residences, schools, religious facilities, hospitals, and parks

Source: NEC FUTURE team, 2015

Table 7.12-3: Affected Environment: Noise and Vibration - Existing Levels
Geography County Noise Exposure (Ldn) at 100 ft. from Representative Route (dBA) Max. Vibration Velocity Level at 100 ft. from Representative Route (VdB)
Existing NEC Alt. 1 Alt. 2 Alt. 3 Existing NEC Alt. 1 Alt. 2 Alt. 3
D.C.   68 68 68-69 69 87 87 87 87
MD Prince George's 72 72 72-73 72-73 87 87 87 87
Anne Arundel 72 72 72 72 87 87 87 87
Baltimore Co. 72-75 72-75 72-75 66-75 87 87 87 61-87
Baltimore City 60-71 60-71 60-71 60-71 87 50-87 50-87 50-87
Harford 71-75 71-75 71-75 66-75 87 87 87 50-87
Cecil 74-75 74-75 50-75 50-75 87 87 50-87 50-87
DE New Castle 66-74 66-74 55-74 55-74 87 87 87 50-87
PA Delaware 66-70 66-70 66-70 60-70 87 87 79-87 50-87
Philadelphia 60-68 60-68 60-69 60-72 87 87 79-87 50-87
Bucks 71-72 71-72 71-72 71-72 87 87 87 87
NJ Mercer 68-73 68-73 69-73 68-73 87 87 87 77-87
Middlesex 69-74 69-74 55-74 55-74 87 87 50-87 50-87
Union 75 75 70-75 73-75 87 87 87 87
Essex 70-71 70-71 70-71 70-71 87 87 87 87
Hudson 60-75 60-75 60-75 55-75 87 87 87 50-87
NY New York 60-73 60-73 60-73 60-73 77-87 77-87 77-87 50-87
Kings - - 60 60 - - 50 50
Queens 60-68 60-68 60-68 60-68 77-87 77-87 50-87 50-87
Bronx 65-68 65-68 65-68 60-69 77-87 77-87 77-87 50-87
Westchester 70-71 70-71 66-71 50-71 87 87 61-87 50-87
Putnam - - - 50 - - - 50
Nassau - - - 55-71 - - - 50-74
Suffolk - - - 55-72 - - - 50-74
CT Fairfield 65-71 65-71 55-71 55-71 87 87 61-87 50-87
New Haven 55-70 55-70 55-70 50-70 87 87 50-87 50-87
Hartford - - 55-66 55-66 87 87 50-79 50-79
Tolland - - 50-55 50-66 87 87 50 50-61
Windham - - 50 50-66 - - 50-61 50-61
Middlesex 68 68 68 68 87 87 87 87
New London 66-75 50-75 66-75 66-75 87 50-87 87 87
RI Washington 66-69 50-69 66-69 66-69 87 50-87 87 87
Kent 69-71 69-71 69-71 69-71 87 87 87 87
Providence 60-71 60-71 50-71 50-71 87 87 50-87 50-87
MA Bristol 68 68 66-68 66-68 87 87 79-87 79-87
Worcester - - - 50-66 87 87 - 50-79
Middlesex - - - 55-69 87 87 - 50-79
Norfolk 67-68 67-68 67-68 65-68 87 87 87 79-87
Suffolk 60-68 60-68 60-68 60-68 87 87 87 61-87

Source: NEC FUTURE team, 2015
- = Representative Route is not applicable to state and county.

Predicted noise and vibration levels vary by specific location along the Representative Routes because of differences in rail operations and the presence or absence of other noise and vibration sources; therefore, some of the results in Table 7.12-3 exhibit wide ranges in noise and vibration levels within a given county. For example, in areas adjacent to routes that are not along rail or highway corridors, existing noise and vibration levels are much lower than in other areas where there are major sources of noise and vibration.

7.12.3.1 Existing NEC

As shown in Table 7.12-3, the existing noise levels at a distance of 100 feet from the existing NEC are fairly high, with noise exposure levels (Ldn) that are typically in the range of 65-75 dBA. To put these levels into perspective, the Department of Housing and Urban Development defines an Ldn of 65 dBA as the onset of a normally unacceptable housing environment, and the Federal Aviation Administration considers residential land uses not compatible with noise environments where Ldn is greater than 65 dBA. Along the existing NEC, noise levels are generally highest in Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey, and lowest in Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts.

For vibration, Table 7.12-3 indicates existing maximum levels of 77-87 VdB at 100 feet from the existing NEC, above the FRA/FTA criteria of 72-75 VdB for residential land use based on the current train volumes. The maximum vibration levels along this route are similar in all states.

7.12.3.2 Alternative 1

The existing noise and vibration level ranges along the Representative Route for Alternative 1 are the same as those along the existing NEC, except in a few areas along new off-corridor routes where there are no major existing noise and vibration sources and where the existing levels are low.

7.12.3.3 Alternative 2

The existing noise and vibration level ranges along the Representative Route for Alternative 2 are typically 0-1 dB higher than those along the routes for the existing NEC and Alternative 1, except in areas along new off-corridor routes where the noise and vibration levels from existing sources are lower.

7.12.3.4 Alternative 3

The upper limits of the existing noise level ranges along the Representative Route for Alternative 3 are 0-1 dB higher than along the existing NEC and the routes for the other alternatives, except in Philadelphia County where they are 3-4 dB higher. The minimum noise levels for Alternative 3 are generally lower than for the other alternatives in areas where there are new off-corridor route options. For vibration, the upper end of the existing range is the same as for the existing NEC in most counties, and the lower end of the range typically represents the existing vibration levels along new route options.

7.12.4 Environmental Consequences

To determine effects, this analysis focused on identifying the population within the projected noise and vibration impact zones for the Representative Routes. Areas of severe and moderate noise impact and areas of vibration impact were determined based on the estimated existing and future noise and vibration levels using applicable FRA/FTA prediction methods and criteria. The populations with potential impacts were then identified based on census tract data for the impact areas. The following sections discuss the key findings of the Environmental Consequences analysis.

7.12.4.1 No Action Alternative

Except for a few minor differences in train equipment, operations under the No Action Alternative are expected to be the same as for the existing conditions; therefore, no new noise or vibration impacts will occur.

7.12.4.2 Action Alternatives

Table 7.12-4 summarizes by state and county the future noise and vibration conditions in terms of the estimated changes in noise and vibration levels (from existing to future conditions) at a distance of 100 feet from the Representative Routes for the Action Alternatives. These results typically indicate projected increases in noise and vibration levels, with the greatest increases for Alternative 3 and locations with no existing trains. However, in some cases, the results project decreases in noise or vibration levels caused by future changes in train equipment and operations.

Because noise and vibration impact depend on both existing and future levels according to FRA/FTA criteria, the estimated ranges of level changes in Table 7.12-4 are not always directly indicative of potential impact. For example, noise impact can occur even when the projected noise increase is small if the existing noise levels are very high. In the case of vibration, the future levels must exceed the criteria for impact to occur, which may require large increases in areas where the existing levels are imperceptible and well below the limit. Thus, to supplement the information in the table, the counties that include areas where impact is projected are highlighted in the table for each of the Action Alternatives. Specifically, the counties that include areas of noise and vibration impact are indicated by gray shading, and bold type font is used to indicate those with areas of severe noise impact. These results suggest that Alternative 1 would have the fewest impacts, with a route and operations that are most similar to the existing conditions, and that Alternative 3, which includes a number of new route options and higher speed train operations, would have the most impacts. The specific areas of impacts for the Action Alternatives are shown in Appendix A, Mapping Atlas.

Table 7.12-5 lists by state and county the estimated populations within the projected FRA/FTA severe and moderate noise impact zones for the Action Alternatives. Table 7.12-6 and Table 7.12-7 provide breakdowns by area of the projected severe and moderate residential impacts, respectively, for the Alternative 3 route options.

Table 7.12-8 lists by state and county the estimated populations within the projected FRA/FTA vibration impact zones for the Action Alternatives, and Table 7.12-9 provides breakdowns by area of the projected residential vibration impacts for the Alternative 3 route options.

In addition to residential population, Table 7.12-10 and Table 7.12-11 summarize the related resources - including parks, ecologically sensitive habitats, and cultural resources/historic properties - that could be affected by noise and vibration, respectively. These tables note by state and county the presence of related resources where residential impacts exist within the Affected Environment of the Action Alternatives. The vibration impacts apply only to resources that contain building structures and do not apply to open land. See Appendix E, Section E.12, for a more detailed description of the Environmental Consequences for noise and vibration.

Table 7.12-4: Environmental Consequences: Noise and Vibration - Future Conditions
Geography County Change in Noise Exposure (Ldn) at 100 ft. from Representative Route (dBA) Change in Maximum Vibration Level at 100 ft. from Representative Route (VdB)
Alt. 1 Alt. 2 Alt. 3 Alt. 1 Alt. 2 Alt. 3
D.C.   2 2 to 3 5 0 0 0
MD Prince George's 2 2 to 3 5 to 10 0 0 0
Anne Arundel 2 3 1 to 6 0 0 0
Baltimore Co. 1 to 2 1 to 3 -1 to 6 0 0 0 to 14
Baltimore City 0 to 2 -3 to 3 0 to 8 0 to 37 0 to 37 0 to 37
Harford 1 -3 to 2 -1 to 27 0 0 0 to 35
Cecil 0 to 1 -1 to 26 -1 to 31 0 -2 to 37 0 to 35
DE New Castle 1 to 2 -1 to 3 -1 to 17 0 -2 to 0 0 to 35
PA Delaware 1 to 2 -5 to 10 2 to 12 0 -8 to 8 0 to 30
Philadelphia 0 to2 -3 to 6 2 to 8 0 -8 to 8 0 to 30
Bucks 1 to 2 2 to 3 6 to 7 0 0 0
NJ Mercer 1 1 to 2 5 to 7 0 0 0
Middlesex 1 -3 to 13 0 to 15 0 0 to 35 -2 to 37
Union 0 -4 to 1 2 to 7 0 0 -2 to 0
Essex 1 to 2 -2 to 4 1 to 6 0 0 0
Hudson 2 3 0 to 15 0 0 -2 to 37
NY New York 3 5 7 0 0 0 to 37
Kings - 0 0 - 30 30
Queens 3 2 to 8 0 to 8 0 0 to 37 0 to 37
Bronx 1 to 4 2 to 6 1 to 16 0 0 0 to 10
Westchester 3 to 4 4 to 10 5 to 26 0 0 to 26 0 to 30
Putnam - - 0 - - 30
Nassau - - 0 to 16 - - 6 to 30
Suffolk - - -6 to 24 - - 0 to 30
CT Fairfield 3 to 8 -2 to 10 0 to 23 0 -8 to 26 -8 to 37
New Haven 2 to 4 1 to 20 3 to 26 0 -8 to 17 -7 to 30
Hartford - 2 to 11 6 to 25 - 0 to 27 1 to 30
Tolland - 15 to 20 6 to 26 - 27 9 to 30
Windham - 15 to 24 21 to 30 - 17 to 27 20 to 30
Middlesex 3 1 3 to 5 0 -8 -7
New London -2 to 21 -1 to 1 1 to 7 0 to 27 -8 -7
RI Washington -1 to 21 0 to 2 1 to 7 0 to 27 -8 to -2 -7 to -2
Kent 2 to 3 1 to 2 2 to 5 0 -2 -2
Providence 2 to 3 1 to 20 2 to 26 0 -2 to 27 -7 to 35
MA Bristol 4 3 to 5 4 to 11 0 -2 to 0 -2 to 6
Worcester - - 6 to 21 - - 0 to 35
Middlesex - - 0 - - 6 to 35
Norfolk 4 to 5 5 to 7 6 to 15 0 -2 -2 to 6
Suffolk 2 to 4 3 to 6 3 to 11 0 -2 to 0 -2 to 24

Source: NEC FUTURE team, 2015
Note: A value of "0" indicates that no projected FRA/FTA severe or moderate noise impact zones occur in that county.
- = Representative Route is not applicable to state and county.
Gray shading = Areas with noise or vibration impact.
Bold type font = Areas with severe noise impact.

Table 7.12-5: Environmental Consequences: Representative Route - Noise - Residential Impacts
Geography County Estimated Population within Severe Noise Impact Zones Estimated Population within Moderate Noise Impact Zones
Alt. 1 Alt. 2 Alt. 3 Alt. 1 Alt. 2 Alt. 3
D.C.   0 800 2,030 1,220 1,310 1,610
MD Prince George's 0 2,000 7,430 2,960 4,860 6,800
Anne Arundel 0 1,560 3,180 2,060 2,870 3,250
Baltimore Co. 0 1,040 4,030 2,430 3,590 4,000
Baltimore City 0 1,670 730 2,410 2,990 2,140
Harford 0 0 6,850 1,260 1,630 5,550
Cecil 0 1,500 4,050 890 2,740 8,390
DE New Castle 0 1,770 6,680 3,880 5,580 7,400
PA Delaware 0 1,000 4,350 4,450 1,250 5,990
Philadelphia 0 6,680 14,050 10,160 8,920 13,330
Bucks 0 530 5,470 1,710 4,430 6,200
NJ Mercer 0 620 5,010 1,700 3,050 4,500
Middlesex 0 940 10,020 5,960 12,380 13,150
Union 0 840 10,770 5,730 3,900 15,550
Essex 1,090 160 2,980 1,750 230 2,630
Hudson 360 460 1,720 980 1,080 1,850
NY New York 150 300 440 310 350 390
Kings - 0 0 - 0 0
Queens 3,170 7,040 8,170-17,920 4,160 5,400 8,390-19,470
Bronx 5,530 8,290 11,470-20,640 7,130 8,920 14,730-22,620
Westchester 5,400 9,970 11,460-28,220 9,060 12,990 11,380-17,760
Putnam - - 0 - - 0
Nassau - - 0-4,560 - - 0-4,600
Suffolk - - 0-2,740 - - 0-2,270
CT Fairfield 11,460 15,860 14,500-16,240 15,720 18,540 13,610-15,000
New Haven 4,410 5,660 8,450-14,680 6,880 8,440 10,050-13,980
Hartford - 5,240 4,350-6,160 - 6,200 4,760-5,650
Tolland - 270 730-2,970 - 450 1,320-4,820
Windham - 380 100-1,410 - 610 200-2,280
Middlesex 200 0 290-530 550 0 580-810
New London< 930 0 1,640-2,940 1,790 330 3,350-4,420
RI Washington 820 0 770-1,700 1,720 250 1,920-3,430
Kent 490 0 740-1,400 1,460 1,150 1,540-1,950
Providence 2,670 2,120 6,680-6,840 6,850 6,610 7,760-12,180
MA Bristol 1,840 2,220 3,080-5,390 2,340 3,610 3,120-3,720
Worcester - - 0-10,030 - - 0-10,730
Middlesex - - 0-10 - - 0-30
Norfolk 1,330 1,750 2,700-4,220 1,540 2,250 2,250-2,570
Suffolk 6,820 8,060 14,510-20,360 7,140 10,450 11,470-17,700
TOTAL 46,670 88,730 208,600-230,210 116,200 147,360 223,440-244,720

Source: NEC FUTURE team, 2015
Note: A value of "0" indicates that no projected FRA/FTA severe or moderate noise impact zones occur in that county.
- = Representative Route is not applicable to state and county.

Table 7.12-6 Environmental Consequences: Representative Route of Alternative 3 Route Options - Noise - Severe Residential Impacts
Geography County Estimated Population Within Severe Noise Impact Zones
D.C. to NYC New York City to Hartford Hartford to Boston
via Central Connecticut via Long Island via Providence via Worcester
D.C.   2,030 - - - -
MD Prince George's 7,430 - - - -
Anne Arundel 3,180 - - - -
Baltimore Co. 4,030 - - - -
Baltimore City 730 - - - -
Harford 6,850 - - - -
Cecil 4,050 - - - -
DE New Castle 6,680 - - - -
PA Delaware 4,350 - - - -
Philadelphia 14,050 - - - -
Bucks 5,470 - - - -
NJ Mercer 5,010 - - - -
Middlesex 10,020 - - - -
Union 10,770 - - - -
Essex 2,980 - - - -
Hudson 1,720 - - - -
NY New York - 440 440 - -
Kings - - 0 - -
Queens - - 17,920 - -
Bronx - 20,640 11,470 - -
Westchester - 28,220 11,460 - -
Putnam - 0 - - -
Nassau - - - - -
Suffolk - - 2,740 - -
CT Fairfield - 16,240 14,500-14,590 - -
New Haven - 8,450-10,160 13,540-14,680 - -
Hartford - 2,930 3,620 2,450-2,540 1,420
Tolland -   - 730 2,970
Windham -   - 1,050-1,410 100
Middlesex -   - 290 530
New London -   - 1,640-1,660 2,930-2,940
RI Washington -   - 770-800 1,680-1,700
Kent -   - 740 1,400
Providence -   - 6,790-6,840 6,680
MA Bristol -   - 5,390 3,080
Worcester -   - - 10,030
Middlesex -   - - 10
Norfolk -   - 38,50-4,220 2,700-3,140
Suffolk -   - 14,510-14,830 20,070-20,360
TOTAL 89,350 85,090-86,800 80,250-81,480 38,210-39,450 53,600-54,360

Source: NEC FUTURE team, 2015
- = Representative Route is not applicable to state and county.

Table 7.12-7: Environmental Consequences: Representative Route of Alternative 3 Route Options - Noise - Moderate Residential Impacts
Geography County Estimated Population Within Moderate Noise Impact Zones
D.C. to NYC New York City to Hartford Hartford to Boston
via Central Connecticut via Long Island via Providence via Worcester
D.C.   1,610 - - - -
MD Prince George's 6,800 - - - -
Anne Arundel 3,250 - - - -
Baltimore Co. 4,000 - - - -
Baltimore City 2,140 - - - -
Harford 5,550 - - - -
Cecil 8,390 - - - -
DE New Castle 7,400 - - - -
PA Delaware 5,990 - - - -
Philadelphia 13,330 - - - -
Bucks 6,200 - - - -
NJ Mercer 4,500 - - - -
Middlesex 13,150 - - - -
Union 15,550 - - - -
Essex 2,630 - - - -
Hudson 1,850 - - - -
NY New York - 390 390 - -
Kings - - 0 - -
Queens - 8,390 19,470 - -
Bronx - 22,620 14,730 - -
Westchester - 17,760 11,380 - -
Putnam - 0 - - -
Nassau - - 4,600 - -
Suffolk - - 2,270 - -
CT Fairfield - 14,980-15,000 13,610-13,700 - -
New Haven - 10,050-11,730 12,280-13,980 - -
Hartford - 3,410 3,110 2,180-2,240 1,660
Tolland - - - 1,320-1,590 4,820
Windham - - - 1,520-2,280 200
Middlesex - - - 580 800-810
New London - - - 3,350-3,360 4,420
RI Washington - - - 1,920-1,960 3,410-3,430
Kent - - - 1,540 1,950
Providence - - - 10,860-12,180 7,760
MA Bristol - - - 3,720 3,120
Worcester - - - - 10,730
Middlesex - - - - 30
Norfolk - - - 2,460-2,570 2,250-2,360
Suffolk - - - 11,470-11,690 17,350-17,700
TOTAL 102,340 77,600-79,300 81,840-83,630 40,920-43,710 58,180-58,500

Source: NEC FUTURE team, 2015
Note: A value of "0" indicates that no projected FRA/FTA severe or moderate noise impact zones occur in that county.
- = Representative Route is not applicable to state and county.

Table 7.12-8: Environmental Consequences: Representative Route - Vibration - Residential Impacts
Geography County Estimated Population Within Vibration Impact Zones
Alternative 1 Alternative 2 Alternative 3
D.C.   0 0 0
MD Prince George's 0 0 0
Anne Arundel 0 0 0
Baltimore Co. 0 0 1,230
Baltimore City 5,080 5,080 16,740
Harford 0 0 1,670
Cecil 0 770 670
DE New Castle 0 340 1,950
PA Delaware 0 380 90
Philadelphia 0 3,030 13,250
Bucks 0 0 0
NJ Mercer 0 0 0
Middlesex 0 3,970 2,090
Union 0 0 0
Essex 0 0 0
Hudson 0 0 7,500
NY New York 0 220 9,890-31,690
Kings - 260 260-620
Queens 0 17,540 17,090-29,720
Bronx 0 0 0-110
Westchester 0 780 0-3,170
Putnam - - 0-190
Nassau - - 0-7,920
Suffolk - - 0-9,650
CT Fairfield 0 6,880 3,620-4,790
New Haven 0 710 1,850-2,130
Hartford - 520 4,590-5,350
Tolland - 370 480-510
Windham - 180 10-230
Middlesex 0 0 0
New London 1,110 0 0
RI Washington 370 0 0
Kent 0 0 0
Providence 0 4,130 0-7,090
MA Bristol 0 0 0-370
Worcester - - 0-3,010
Middlesex - - 0-6,200
Norfolk 0 0 0-500
Suffolk 0 0 0-11,890
TOTAL 6,560 45,160 118,120-135,170

Source: NEC FUTURE team, 2015
Note: A value of "0" indicates that no projected FRA/FTA severe or moderate noise impact zones occur in that county.
- = Representative Route is not applicable to state and county.

Table 7.12-9: Environmental Consequences: Representative Route of Alternative 3 Route Options - Vibration - Residential Impacts
Geography County Estimated Population Within Vibration Impact Zones
D.C. to NYC New York City to Hartford Hartford to Boston
via Central Connecticut via Long Island via Providence via Worcester
D.C.   0 - - - -
MD Prince George's 0 - - - -
Anne Arundel 0 - - - -
Baltimore Co. 1,230 - - - -
Baltimore City 16,740 - - - -
Harford 1,670 - - - -
Cecil 670 - - - -
DE New Castle 1,950 - - - -
PA Delaware 90 - - - -
Philadelphia 13,250 - - - -
Bucks 0 - - - -
NJ Mercer 0 - - - -
Middlesex 2,090 - - - -
Union 0 - - - -
Essex 0 - - - -
Hudson 7,500 - - - -
NY New York - 31,650-31,690 9,890 - -
Kings - 260 620 - -
Queens - 17,090 29,720 - -
Bronx - 110 0 - -
Westchester - 3,170 0 - -
Putnam - 190 - - -
Nassau - - 7,920 - -
Suffolk - - 9,650 - -
CT Fairfield - 4,790 3,620 - -
New Haven - 2,130 1,850 - -
Hartford - 4,220 3,680 570-1,670 910
Tolland - - - 480 510
Windham - - - 230 10
Middlesex - - - 0 0
New London - - - 0 0
RI Washington - - - 0 0
Kent - - - 0 0
Providence - - - 7,070-7,090 0
MA Bristol - - - 360-370 0
Worcester - - - - 3,010
Middlesex - - - - 6,200
Norfolk - - - 0 500
Suffolk - - - 0 11,890
TOTAL 45,190 63,010-63,650 66,950 8,710-9,840 23,030

Source: NEC FUTURE team, 2015
Note: A value of "0" indicates that no projected FRA/FTA severe or moderate noise impact zones occur in that county.
- = Representative Route is not applicable to state and county.

Table 7.12-10: Environmental Consequences: Affected Environment - Noise - Summary of Related Resources
Geography County Resource of Interest Summary of Related Resources
Alt. 1 Alt. 2 Alternative 3
DC-NYC New York City to Hartford Hartford to Boston
Central CT Long Island Providence Worcester
D.C.   Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties X X X        
MD Prince George's Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties              
Anne Arundel Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties X X X        
Baltimore County Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties X X X        
Baltimore City Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties X X X        
Harford Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X   X        
Cultural/Historic Properties X X X        
Cecil Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X   X        
Cultural/Historic Properties X X X        
DE New Castle Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat     X        
Cultural/Historic Properties X X X        
PA Delaware Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties X X X        
Philadelphia Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties X X X        
Bucks Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties X X X        
NJ Mercer Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties X X X        
Middlesex Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties X X X        
Union Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties X X X        
Essex Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties X X X        
Hudson Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties X X X        
NY New York Parks X X   X X    
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X   X X    
Cultural/Historic Properties X X   X X    
Queens Parks X X   X X    
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X   X X    
Cultural/Historic Properties X X   X X    
Bronx Parks X X   X X    
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X   X X    
Cultural/Historic Properties X X   X X    
Westchester Parks       X      
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X   X X    
Cultural/Historic Properties X X   X X    
Nassau Parks         X    
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat         X    
Cultural/Historic Properties         X    
Suffolk Parks         X    
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat         X    
Cultural/Historic Properties         X    
CT Fairfield Parks X X   X X    
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X   X X    
Cultural/Historic Properties X X   X X    
New Haven Parks X X   X X    
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X   X X    
Cultural/Historic Properties X X   X X    
Hartford Parks   X       X  
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat   X   X X X X
Cultural/Historic Properties   X   X X   X
Tolland Parks   X       X X
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat   X       X X
Cultural/Historic Properties   X       X X
Windham Parks   X       X X
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat   X       X X
Cultural/Historic Properties   X       X  
Middlesex Parks              
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X         X X
Cultural/Historic Properties X     X X   X
New London Parks X            
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X       X X
Cultural/Historic Properties X X   X X    
RI Washington Parks X         X X
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X         X X
Cultural/Historic Properties X         X  
Kent Parks X X       X  
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X       X X
Cultural/Historic Properties X X       X  
Providence Parks X X       X X
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X       X X
Cultural/Historic Properties X X       X  
MA Bristol Parks              
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X       X X
Cultural/Historic Properties X X       X  
Worcester Parks             X
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat             X
Cultural/Historic Properties             X
Norfolk Parks X X       X X
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X       X X
Cultural/Historic Properties X X       X X
Suffolk Parks X X       X X
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X       X X
Cultural/Historic Properties X X       X X

Source: NEC FUTURE team, 2015
Note: Parks, Ecologically Sensitive Habitat, and Cultural/Historic Properties could also be Section 4(f)/6(f) Resources.
Blank cell = No coinciding noise impacts with the resource of interest.
X = Resource presence was noted where noise impact is projected for people living within the Affected Environment.

Table 7.12-11: Environmental Consequences: Affected Environment - Vibration - Summary of Related Resources
Geography County Resource of Interest Summary of Related Resources
Alt. 1 Alt. 2 Alternative 3
DC-NYC New York City to Hartford Hartford to Boston
Central CT Long Island Providence Worcester
MD Baltimore County Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties X X X        
Baltimore City Parks X X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties X X X        
Harford Parks     X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat     X        
Cultural/Historic Properties     X        
Cecil Parks   X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat     X        
Cultural/Historic Properties   X X        
DE New Castle Parks     X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat     X        
Cultural/Historic Properties     X        
PA Delaware Parks   X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat   X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties   X X        
Philadelphia Parks   X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat   X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties   X X        
NJ Middlesex Parks   X X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat   X X        
Cultural/Historic Properties   X X        
Hudson Parks     X        
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat     X        
Cultural/Historic Properties     X        
NY New York Parks       X X    
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat       X X    
Cultural/Historic Properties       X X    
Kings Parks       X X    
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat       X X    
Cultural/Historic Properties              
Queens Parks   X   X X    
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat   X   X X    
Cultural/Historic Properties   X   X X    
Bronx Parks       X X    
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat       X X    
Cultural/Historic Properties       X X    
Westchester Parks       X      
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat   X   X X    
Cultural/Historic Properties   X   X X    
Putnam Parks              
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat              
Cultural/Historic Properties              
Nassau Parks         X    
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X       X    
Cultural/Historic Properties         X    
Suffolk Parks         X    
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat         X    
Cultural/Historic Properties         X    
CT Fairfield Parks   X   X X    
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat   X   X X    
Cultural/Historic Properties   X   X X    
New Haven Parks   X   X X    
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat   X   X X    
Cultural/Historic Properties   X   X X    
Hartford Parks   X       X  
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat   X   X X X X
Cultural/Historic Properties   X   X X   X
Tolland Parks   X       X X
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat   X       X X
Cultural/Historic Properties   X       X X
Windham Parks   X       X X
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat   X       X X
Cultural/Historic Properties   X       X  
New London Parks X            
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X            
Cultural/Historic Properties X            
RI Washington Parks X            
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat X            
Cultural/Historic Properties X            
Providence Parks   X       X X
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat   X       X X
Cultural/Historic Properties   X       X  
MA Bristol Parks              
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat           X X
Cultural/Historic Properties           X  
Worcester Parks             X
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat             X
Cultural/Historic Properties             X
Norfolk Parks           X X
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat           X X
Cultural/Historic Properties           X X
Suffolk Parks           X X
Ecologically Sensitive Habitat           X X
Cultural/Historic Properties           X X

Source: NEC FUTURE team, 2015
Note: Parks, Ecologically Sensitive Habitat, and Cultural/Historic Properties could also be Section 4(f)/6(f) Resources
Blank cell = No coinciding noise impacts with the resource of interest.
X = Resource presence was noted where vibration impact is projected within the Affected Environment. Vibration impacts apply only to resources that contain building structures and do not apply to open land.

7.12.4.3 Alternative 1

In terms of the number of people affected, Alternative 1 would result in 46,670 severe noise impacts, 116,200 moderate noise impacts, and 6,560 vibration impacts. The most noise impacts would occur in Fairfield County, CT, where there are new route options in populated areas that deviate from the existing NEC. A high number of noise impacts would occur in Philadelphia County, PA; and Queens, Bronx, and Westchester Counties, NY; New Haven County, CT; Providence County, RI; and Suffolk County, MA, where there are densely populated areas along the route. Vibration impacts for Alternative 1 would be limited to Baltimore City, MD; New London County, CT; and Washington County, RI, where there are new route options that deviate from the existing NEC.

7.12.4.4 Alternative 2

In terms of the number of people affected, Alternative 2 would result in 88,730 severe noise impacts, 147,360 moderate noise impacts, and 45,160 vibration impacts. The geographical distribution of noise impacts would be similar to Alternative 1, with generally greater numbers of impacts. However, in certain areas the projected impacts would be fewer for Alternative 2 than for Alternative 1. These areas include Essex County, NJ (where Intercity-Express trains would be diverted through a tunnel section), and areas along the existing NEC from Middlesex County, CT, through Providence County, RI (where Intercity-Express trains would be diverted along a bypass through Hartford, CT). There would also be noise impacts in Hartford, Tolland, and Windham Counties, CT, because of train operations along the bypass through Hartford. For vibration, the greatest number of impacts for Alternative 2 would occur in Queens County, NY, where there would be a new tunnel bypass segment through a densely populated area.

7.12.4.5 Alternative 3

Relative to Alternatives 1 and 2, the Alternative 3 route options, which include many new off-corridor routes with higher train speeds, would have many more noise and vibration impacts. The results are summarized below by route.

Washington, D.C., to New York City

In terms of the number of people affected, the Alternative 3 portion between Washington, D.C., and New York City would result in 89,350 severe and 102,340 moderate noise impacts, and 45,190 vibration impacts. The greatest number of noise impacts would occur in densely populated Philadelphia County, PA, and in Middlesex and Union Counties, NJ. For vibration, the greatest number of impacts would occur in Baltimore, MD, and Philadelphia, PA, where there are major new tunnel sections.

New York City to Hartford

Via Central Connecticut

In terms of the number of people affected, Alternative 3 between New York City and Hartford via Central Connecticut would result in up to 86,800 severe and 79,300 moderate noise impacts, and 63,650 vibration impacts. The most noise impacts would occur in densely populated Bronx and Westchester Counties, NY, and in Fairfield County, CT. For vibration, the most impacts would occur in densely populated New York and Queens Counties, NY, because of major new tunnel sections.

Via Long Island

In terms of the number of people affected, Alternative 3 between New York City and Hartford via Long Island would result in up to 81,480 severe and 83,630 moderate noise impacts, and 66,950 vibration impacts. Although these impacts would not be very different than those for the route option via Central Connecticut, slightly fewer noise impacts and slightly more vibration impacts would occur for the route option via Long Island. The greatest numbers of noise and vibration impacts would occur in densely populated Queens County, NY, where the new route option through Long Island begins.

Hartford to Boston

Via Providence

In terms of the number of people affected, Alternative 3 between Hartford and Boston via Providence route option would result in up to 39,450 severe and 43,710 moderate noise impacts, and up to 9,840 vibration impacts. The most noise impacts would occur in densely populated Providence County, RI, and Suffolk County, MA. For vibration, the most impacts would occur in Providence County, where there would be a major new tunnel section.

Via Worcester

In terms of the number of people affected, Alternative 3 between Hartford and Boston via Worcester route option would result in up to 54,360 severe and 58,500 moderate noise impacts, and 23,030 vibration impacts. These impacts are significantly greater than for the route option via Providence. The most noise and vibration impacts would occur along the new route option through densely populated Suffolk County, MA.

7.12.5 Context Area

Within the Context Area, the areas of greatest concern are those with the greatest concentration of residences and parkland. A shift in the Representative Route of any of the Action Alternatives may result in noise and vibration impacts to these sensitive resources.

7.12.6 Potential Mitigation Strategies

Potential noise and vibration mitigation strategies will focus on minimizing impacts at the source (e.g., vehicle treatments, track treatments and horn-free quiet zones), along the transmission path (e.g., sound barriers and track vibration isolation treatments), and at the receiver (e.g., building sound insulation treatments).

7.12.7 Subsequent Tier 2 Analysis

This Tier 1 analysis identifies the number of people, parks, wildlife preserves, cultural resources and historic properties, and Section 4(f)/6(f) resources that would be affected by noise and vibration impacts of the Action Alternatives. However, because of the lack of detailed design information, this Tier 1 Draft EIS does not include a quantitative analysis of impacts from ancillary facilities, stations, and project-related changes in roadway and aircraft traffic. Tier 2 analyses would identify the actual numbers of affected residences, the types of land uses, and locations of sensitive receptors, and would include a quantitative evaluation of potential noise and vibration effects on wildlife and natural parks. The development of mitigation measures and designs that would avoid or minimize noise and vibration effects would also be included in the Tier 2 analyses.