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<ul><li><p>Mapping the Noise and Vibration Nuisance </p><p>of the Proposed Baltimore-Washington </p><p>Superconducting Maglev Train </p><p>Citizens Against This SCMaglev (CATS) </p><p>January 2018 </p><p>Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CitizensAgainstSCMaglev </p><p>Email: maglevcoalition@gmail.com </p></li><li><p>2 </p><p>Contents </p><p>Part 1: Maps ............................................................................................................. 3 </p><p>1. Citizens Against This SCMaglev (CATS) .............................................................................. 3 </p><p>2. Motivation for the CATS Mapping Effort .............................................................................. 3 </p><p>3. The CATS Geographic Information System........................................................................... 4 </p><p>4. A Map of South Laurel, Maryland .......................................................................................... 4 </p><p>5. A Map of Greenbelt, Maryland ............................................................................................... 7 </p><p>6. A Map of Bladensburg, Maryland .......................................................................................... 9 </p><p>Part 2: Nuisance Distance .....................................................................................11 </p><p>1. Overview ............................................................................................................................... 11 </p><p>2. Noise Nuisance ..................................................................................................................... 12 </p><p>2.1. Initial screening for noise nuisance................................................................................ 12 </p><p>2.2. General assessment of noise nuisance ........................................................................... 14 </p><p>3. Ground-vibration Nuisance ................................................................................................... 15 </p><p>4. Rapid-onset Nuisance ........................................................................................................... 16 </p><p>5. Mathematical Details ............................................................................................................ 17 </p><p>5.1. Mathematical details of noise nuisance ......................................................................... 17 </p><p>5.2. Mathematical details of ground-vibration nuisance ....................................................... 19 </p><p>5.3. Mathematical details of rapid-onset nuisance ................................................................ 21 </p><p>5.4. Variation in maglev speed as a function of distance from the nearest station ............... 21 </p><p>6. Comparison with Official Estimates ..................................................................................... 24 </p><p>References ...............................................................................................................28 </p></li><li><p>3 </p><p>Part 1: Maps </p><p>1. Citizens Against This SCMaglev (CATS) Citizens Against This SCMaglev (CATS) is a grassroots organization concerned about the </p><p>proposed Superconducting Magnetic Levitation (SCMaglev) train project between Baltimore, </p><p>Maryland and Washington, DC. CATS feel strongly that the SCMaglev is not in the best interest </p><p>of Maryland residents, and we are working to raise awareness of the project and to highlight </p><p>serious impacts that the SCMaglev may have in many communities. </p><p>Approximately 3,000 people have participated in CATS since the group formed in 2017. Their </p><p>background, experience, and technical abilities allow CATS to address the proposed Baltimore-</p><p>Washington SCMaglev on a professional level. The CATS organizational structure provides the </p><p>resources for research, technical writing, technical analysis, and outreach. Contributors to this </p><p>paper include members of the Research and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) groups </p><p>within CATS. </p><p>2. Motivation for the CATS Mapping Effort In October 2017, the SCMaglev environmental impact study announced three possible track </p><p>alignments for the 36-mile-long proposed rail line between Baltimore and Washington DC </p><p>(http://www.bwmaglev.info/). </p><p>It is difficult for the public and for elected officials to form opinions about the impacts of these </p><p>alternatives when they lack information about how far from the track a noise nuisance or a </p><p>ground-vibration nuisance may be generated by the passage of maglev trains. Maglev-generated </p><p>noise may disrupt sleep, ground vibration may rattle homes and places of business, and the rapid </p><p>onset of the maglev noise is a safety hazard because it can startle. All three of these kinds of </p><p>nuisance may hamper business activities, reduce residents' quality of life, and lower property </p><p>values along the track. The present document makes no attempt to evaluate if the proposed </p><p>SCMaglev is an efficient use of the funds available to address the region's transportation needs. </p><p>While the SCMaglev environmental impact study has yet to publish estimates of how far from </p><p>the proposed tracks the noise and vibration nuisances will extend, the Federal Railroad </p><p>Administration (FRA) has published methods that one can use to estimate such distances. These </p><p>methods were published in 2012 and can be downloaded from </p><p>https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L04090. The intended audience of FRA (2012) is the </p><p>professional who is performing an environmental impact study, project sponsors, elected </p><p>officials, and interested citizens (page 1-1). Part I of the present document includes sample maps </p><p>generated using the methodology in FRA (2012). Part II of the present document explains how </p><p>these nuisance distances were obtained from FRA (2012). </p></li><li><p>4 </p><p>The research described in FRA (2012) establishes that a maglev train travels fast enough to </p><p>generate considerable noise and ground vibration despite the train's aerodynamic shape. During </p><p>the day, the noise of a maglev train's passage may be particularly unwelcome in venues such as </p><p>schools, day-care centers, hospitals, doctor and dentist offices, libraries, houses of worship, </p><p>parks, monuments, or other places where a peaceful atmosphere is expected or concentration is </p><p>required. During the night, the noise of a maglev train's passage may disrupt sleep. Some </p><p>studies suggest that senior citizens may be particular susceptible to this effect whether sleeping </p><p>in a private resident or a senior-care facility. The ground vibration from a maglev train creates a </p><p>kind of "economic dead zone" near its track where certain kinds of research, manufacturing, and </p><p>medical activities are prohibited. </p><p>3. The CATS Geographic Information System For Maryland residents, elected officials, and the directly impacted populations to understand </p><p>and comment meaningfully on the impacts of the proposed SCMaglev rail line, the CATS-GIS </p><p>group has created maps that show an estimate of the noise or ground-vibration impact. The </p><p>group has also analyzed such impacts to specific properties along the proposed track alignments. </p><p>To generate maps and analyses, CATS has used a Geographic Information System (GIS). A GIS </p><p>is a combination of software, data, hardware, and technical experts who can perform mapping </p><p>and analysis functions. Specific to the proposed SCMaglev train routes, this GIS identifies the </p><p>populations, community facilities, and geographic areas impacted by the noise and vibrations of </p><p>the proposed SCMaglev trains. This analysis works from the proposed routes as stated on the </p><p>Maryland Department of Transportation's SCMaglev website (http://www.bwmaglev.info/). </p><p>Ancillary data sources are listed in the Reference section. </p><p>The geographic buffers created within the GIS are based on the Federal Railroad Administration </p><p>formulas that are specific to maglev technology, as described in Part II of the present document. </p><p>Once calculated, the geographic buffers are used to identify the property parcels that may be </p><p>impacted by means of a geographic join of the different layers. </p><p>4. A Map of South Laurel, Maryland Map 1 shows how properties in South Laurel might be impacted by the SCMaglev. The map </p><p>highlights possible traffic-safety issues, economic impacts, and quality-of-life impacts along this </p><p>1.7 mile portion of the 36 miles between Baltimore and Washington. </p><p>There is reason to believe that the proposed SCMaglev line will cause automobile fatalities at </p><p>locations where the South Laurel map is marked with red circles near the Baltimore-Washington </p><p>Parkway. At these locations, drivers in merge lanes or exit ramps may be startled by the sudden </p><p>and unexpected sound of the maglev's passage, directly overhead, along its elevated track. At a </p><p>50-foot distance, a 300-mph maglev train has a 97 dBA equivalent sound level that rapidly goes </p><p>from quiet to maximum loudness in second or two. The maximum volume of the maglev sound </p><p>http://www.bwmaglev.info/</p></li><li><p>5 </p><p>when 50 feet from the track is approximately twice as loud as that of a jackhammer, 50 feet </p><p>away. These volume estimates are discussed further in Section 5.1 of Part II. Section 4 of Part II </p><p>provides more information about the startle distance. One would imagine that the National Park </p><p>Service would be interested in reviewing these potential impacts, as the Baltimore-Washington </p><p>Parkway is a unit of the National Park Service. </p><p>In terms of economic impact, South Laurel businesses such as the hotel just north of the </p><p>Parkway/Route-197 interchange would likely suffer from complaints stemming either from the </p><p>maglev's airborne noise or from indoor noise that would be generated when maglev ground-</p><p>borne vibrations enter the building. The owners of such businesses would have to hope that their </p><p>buildings do not happen to have resonances at the maglev track's main vibration frequencies or </p><p>else the impact to building occupants would be greater. Such uncertainty could be removed </p><p>through geological and engineering field studies of the specific buildings and intervening soil. </p><p>CATS is not aware of such field work having been conducted as part of the SCMaglev </p><p>environmental impact study at this time. </p><p>The biggest quality-of-life issue for most people living or working near the maglev line in South </p><p>Laurel may be the noise nuisance generated by the passage of the trains. The number of homes </p><p>and other resources that one tags as subject to an airborne noise nuisance depends on the distance </p><p>from the track that one uses as a threshold. Plausible distances are 700 feet, 1,933 feet, or 3,074 </p><p>feet, as discussed below. Map 1 shows these three distances with an orange area, a dashed </p><p>orange line, or a dotted orange line, respectively. </p><p>A 700-foot distance is the "initial screening" distance that the Federal Railroad Administration </p><p>(FRA) gives for a maglev train traveling at least 200 mph. (See Section 2 of Part II.) Among the </p><p>resources within 700 feet of maglev alternatives J-BWI or J1-BWI are two parks (i.e., Muirkirk </p><p>Park and Montpelier Hills Park), several residential neighborhoods (e.g., Apache Tears, Villages </p><p>of Montpelier, Montpelier Hills), and a U.S. Secret Service facility. </p><p>The SCMaglev train is likely to be traveling 300 mph through South Laurel, not merely 200 </p><p>mph. (See Section 5.4 of Part II.) For this reason, 700 feet is likely to be an underestimate of the </p><p>geographic extent of the noise nuisance while 1,933 feet or 3,074 feet is likely to be a more </p><p>accurate estimate, depending on the number of maglev train passbys per hour. (See Section 3 of </p><p>Part II.) Resources that fall within the 3,074-foot buffer include the Montpelier Mansion </p><p>National Historic Landmark, Montpelier Elementary School, Capital Technology University, </p><p>South Laurel Neighborhood Park, several houses of worship, medical offices (i.e., Primary </p><p>Pediatrics), several child-care centers, and many residences. </p></li><li><p>6 </p><p> Map 1. South Laurel, Maryland, showing SCMaglev alternative routes J-BWP and J1-BWP, as </p><p>announced by the Environmental Impact Study in October 2017. </p></li><li><p>7 </p><p>5. A Map of Greenbelt, Maryland As shown in Map 2, the proposed SCMaglev routes through Greenbelt head straight through a </p><p>number of resources that any federally-funded transportation project (highway or railroad) is </p><p>required to avoid, according to federal law, unless it can be demonstrated than no alternative </p><p>route exists. Both protected greenspace and historical resources may be preserved by Section </p><p>4(f) of the 1966 Department of Transportation Act. Map 2 shows the possible geographic extent </p><p>of the noise nuisance of the aboveground SCMaglev track using horizontal hash-marks for the </p><p>~3,000-foot buffer that assumes 8 maglev train passbys an hour. The outer boundary of the </p><p>possible ground-vibration nuisance is indicates with orange dotted lines, under the assumption of </p><p>efficient soil propagation. </p><p>In Map 2, the various filled polygons and outlined shapes over Greenbelt are a result of the city, </p><p>county, state, and federal interest in this land remaining greenspace. One reason for these </p><p>protections is that Greenbelt is at the southwestern terminus of a large wedge of greenspace with </p><p>high conservation value that stretches from Greenbelt northeast through the Beltsville </p><p>Agricultural Research Center and Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. </p><p>Starting at the local level, the City of Greenbelt owns the Forest Preserve (the dark green </p><p>polygon in Map 2), and the Greenbelt City code prohibits construction within the Forest </p><p>Preserve. Moving to the county level, the 2017 Prince George's County Resource Conservation </p><p>Plan, a county-wide master plan, identifies the area within the curved, dotted, green line in Map </p><p>2 as a Special Conservation Area where the county has a priority of maintaining or expanding </p><p>greenspace. In 2005, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) designated the area </p><p>in the green, dashed line as a hub in the state's Green Infrastructure Plan. In 2011, the Maryland </p><p>DNR reinforced this designation by further identifying this land as a Targeted Ecological Area. </p><p>These state-level designations means that the State of Maryland considers this land to be of high </p><p>ecological value and that it is a conservation priority. On the federal level, the National Park </p><p>Service holds scenic easements within portions of the Greenbelt Forest Preserve that would be </p><p>violated by at least alternative J1-BWP for the SCMaglev. </p><p>In addition to the greenspace protections described above, a federally-designated historical </p><p>resource exists within Greenbelt. Specifically, the portions of Greenbelt that are colored yellow-</p><p>green or dark-green on Map 2 together form a federally-designated National Historical </p><p>Landmark. The historic landmark contains the planned community of Greenbelt that was </p><p>designed, build, and owned by the federal government's Resettlement Administration during the </p><p>New Deal. This historic landmark includes the Greenbelt Forest Preserve, which is part of the </p><p>original belt of green that New Deal city planners intended to...</p></li></ul>