You are on page 1of 1


The average automobile traveling at 13 to 26 m/s (30 or 60 mph) will produce 60 or 75 dBA
at a distance 15 m (50 ft). A large truck or van at 16 m/s (35 mph) will produce an SEL of
89 dBA at a distance of 15 m (50 ft). A bus is slightly quieter than a large truck and will
average between 80 and 87 dBA at the same speed and distance (EPA 1971).

The median traffic noise levels for automobiles, trucks, vans, and buses near roadways
including freeways are 75 to 80 dBA at 30.5 m (100 ft) from the roadway and 60 to 65 dBA
at 305 m (1,000 ft) (EPA 1971). These decibel levels are representative of the road vehicle
noise levels anticipated to exist throughout the road network on WSMR.

WSMR receives rail transportation services from the Southern Pacific Railroad that runs a
main line between El Paso, Texas, and Alamogordo, New Mexico. The Southern Pacific
main line does not enter or cross the range itself. However, a rail siding spur from the main
line does enter WSMR from the east, runs on the range for approximately one km (less than
one mile), and terminates at a loading/unloading area at the Orogrande Range Camp. The
rail siding spur and loading/unloading area receive extremely limited use and are primarily
intended for the unloading of equipment for research and development testing.

Noise in railroad systems is made up of the contributions from locomotives and the train cars
that the locomotives haul. The sources of noise in a moving diesel-electric locomotive are, in
approximate order of contribution to the overall noise level (EPA 1971):
' diesel exhaust muffler;

' diesel engine and surrounding casing, including the air intake and
turbocharger (if any);
' cooling fans;
' rail interaction; and

' electrical generator.

An additional source of noise is the siren or horn, which produces noise levels 10 to 20 dBA
greater than that from the other sources. This is not a continuously operated source, is a
necessary operational safety feature, and is therefore excluded from the above list.

Because freight or passenger cars have no propulsion system of their own, the exterior noise
produced is due mainly to the interaction between the wheels and the rails. Modern train cars
with auxiliary hydraulic suspension systems in addition to the normal springs can be 10 dBA
quieter than the older freight cars, which have only springs. One other major source of noise
from railroads is braking operations in retarder yards, which produce a high-pitched sound at
a level than can exceed 120 dBA at 15 m (50 ft) (EPA 1971).

A railroadshunting operation on a rail siding with a diesel locomotive and freight cars will
SEL of 98.0 dBA at a distance of 15 m (50 (EPA 1971). This railroad

produce an average
system dBA noise level would closely approximate noise levels anticipated to exist at the
Orogrande Range Camps siding. Community Area. Sources of potentially hazardous occupational noise were
surveyed in the WSMR community area by the U.S. Army Environmental Hygiene Agency
1973, 1976, and 1980. majority of the noise sources surveyed were shop tools,


generators, heavy equipment, woodworking equipment, climatic environmental and precision
machinery, radar equipment, numerous maintenance shops, warehouses, heavy vehicle repair