Quiet Life

Who needs a quiet life?

As part of our campaign, Quiet Life, we are championing the cause of passengers – captive audiences - of public transport.

What has become the ‘norm’ for the frequency and loudness of current public address (PA) announcements on public transport, in particular, is completely unnecessary.

Transport passengers are continually bombarded with information that often repeats itself in quick succession – especially frustrating if one is unfortunate enough to be on a ‘stopping service’, in which case the din of repeated information is relentless.

We are asking public transport operators to take action in four key areas to lessen passengers’ discomfort while still meeting the requirements for all passengers to have audible and informative announcements:

Technology review

Public transport operators can replace current pure tone PA systems, at relatively low cost, with broadband alternatives that can be just as effective to hear, but far less disruptive because the sound which is transmitted is much easier on the hearers’ ear as it resembles the way the human ear naturally receives and processes information.

Acoustical environment

Taking straightforward and appropriate acoustical measures, such as design of speaker enclosures and coverings and the location of loudspeakers, can alleviate reverberation and dissipation issues allowing announcements to be transmitted with greater clarity at lower volume.

Rationalise announcements

There is no need for the repetitive discretionary information that is proffered, often listing a litany of details, like announcements relating to the menu choices from the buffet car on trains. Do passengers really need to know – announced at over 80 decibels and harmful to the ears – that hot and cold drinks and paninis can be purchased in the buffet car? We think not.

Vehicle Review

Require all electric passenger and transport trucks used within station boundaries to use broadband sound safety alarms. The ubiquitous tonal ‘beep beep’ alarms cause immense confusion and discomfort to passengers. Broadband sound alarms are instantly locatable, therefore safer, and far easier on the listener’s ear. Simple and cost effective changes, such as these, will allow passengers to be informed of necessary information and get the services they require while still enjoying their journey.


Who else needs a Quiet Life?

Here’s a summary of the changes we are requesting from industry to help alleviate noise pollution problems which are within their control to solve.

Quiet Policy for Industry and Retailers operating in Residential Areas

  • Noise down-time after 9.00pm: respecting children’s bed time.
  • Check mechanics for excessively noisy parts in lifts, pumps, transformers, air conditioning, refrigeration aware that customers, staff, neighbours may be affected.
  • Insulate machinery working out of hours.
  • Vehicle noise reduction – through technology and behavioural management.
  • Late night working noise: turn off radios in working area, shut windows opening onto residential area; minimise outdoor operations unless it can be ensured that they are under 60dB.
  • Staff behavioural training: making them aware of noise transmitting more profoundly when ambient sound is low at night.
  • Turn down PA system inside as well as outside so that it doesn’t emanate from the store at night.
  • Set noise policy standards expected for those visiting or making deliveries in the evening or at night.
  • Incorporate Noise Pollution reduction as part of existing Environment Policies and goal.
  • Report to stakeholders and in Annual Reports on noise pollution reduction as part of overall Environmental reporting requirements.

Quiet Policy for Railways, Public Transport Operators and Retailers

  • Reduce noise of PA system on platforms, inside trains, busses and carriages and inside shops and stores.
  • Rationalise announcements – to minimise disturbance to customers.
  • Replace all existing pure tone PA systems with those that utilise broadband sound in order that announcement can be more effective and less disruptive and harmful to customers, even if required to be loud.
  • Increase the use and variety of visual reminders to passengers to reduce phone or MP3 usage whilst on public transport.
  • Underground & Retail PA systems: utilise sound dampening/masking methods in order to reduce reverberation around tiled walls, floors and hard surfaces.

Quiet Insulation Policy for the Construction and Property Industry

  • Require adequate and effective insulation in converted properties and new builds – current requirements inadequate.
  • Inadequacies of building regulations to be strengthened including requirements for realistic solving of airborne and impact noise and vibration noise in dwellings – current requirements inadequate and difficult to enforce. Click here to see our response to the consultation on the review of government planning practice.

Quiet Policy for Hospitals

  • Requirement for noise sensitive solutions to flooring and walls to reduce noise reverberation on hard surfaces.
  • Employ stringent noise mitigating and noise masking solutions to aid patient recovery in a more serene environment.

Quiet Policy for Schools

  • Requirement for noise sensitive solutions to flooring and walls to reduce noise reverberation on hard surfaces.
  • Employ stringent noise mitigating and noise masking solutions to aid learning and retention and lessen behavioural disruption in a more serene environment.
  • Ban use of mobile phones or MP3 players in classrooms, during lessons and in play areas.

Quiet Policy for TV Advertisers and Cinemas

  • Make TV adverts same dB level as programmes in which they are shown to avoid sudden peak sound blast which is disturbing and causes an unhealthy adrenalin response and leap to the controls to turn them off/down.
  • Cinema operators to turn down pre film trailers and adverts to be at an acceptable listening level rather than much higher than the level of the film that will be played and at an unsafe dB level for listeners.


Support our campaign

Write to the public transport operator, the station manager, the hospital manager, the chairman of the relevant NHS Trust, the cinema manager and the entertainment company boss – to let them know your views.

Make a donation to help us continue our campaign

The Noise Abatement Society is a registered charity, entirely dependant on voluntary

donations. Any amount is gratefully received.

Thank you in advance for your generosity and helping us to maintain a service to continue our work to eliminate excessive and unnecessary noise from all sources for the benefit of all.

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