Managing reverse sensitivity noise & vibration effects of rail and road transport in New Zealand

Malcolm Hunt

New Zealand Acoustics, 28(3), pp.38- 44 . (2015).

District and Regional Plans in New Zealand are a tool that can assist the functioning of a safe and efficient transport systems and assist in managing the environmental effects generated at transport nodes, and along transport corridors. This paper discusses reverse sensitivity measures intended to address noise and vibration from road and rail sources. The paper discusses whether applying land use restrictions beyond the designation corridor to address reverse sensitivity effects best serves the purpose and principles of the Resource Management Act if there are little or no efforts made by transport agencies to adopt the best practicable option to avoid, remedy or mitigate transport noise or vibration effects. Differences are highlighted between road and rail noise in this regard. The paper discusses the benefits of implementing planning measures that directly address effects of noise and vibration effects of land transport noise on people and communities for health and amenity reasons as a means of also dealing with reverse sensitivity effects on transport systems (if any). Finally, the paper outlines difficulties likely to be experienced by Councilís implementing reverse sensitivity rules requested by the countryís rail operator and by the state highway agency. Improvements are recommended that engender a balanced approach to managing direct and reverse sensitivity effects, based the relevant guidance from published New Zealand Standards and relevant international Standards