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Influence of low-frequency vibrations on passenger activities


  • Shafiq Khan (Project leader)
  • Professor
  • Dr. Johan Förstberg † (VTI)
  • Dr. Jerker Sundström  (VTI)

Sources of funding

  • Banverket/Trafikverket
  • VTI

Research Direction

This was a collaboration between KTH and VTI (Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute). The entire study was investigated in two phases. The first phase of the studies was completed on the real train environment, whereas the second part of the studies was made at the laboratory environment. The main objective of the project was
to investigate the effects of vibration on the performance of various sedentary activities like reading, writing, drinking and computer works.

In the first phase of the studies, a questionnaire survey and vibration measurements were made on several aboard trains. Results of the studies were presented at international conferences.

The second phase included laboratory studies, where the effects of low-frequency vibration (0.8 Hz to 10 Hz) on sedentary activities, namely reading and writing, were investigated in a mock-up carbody. This investigation focused on continuous and transient vibration signals using various amplitudes and frequencies. The project was completed in 2006 with the Ph.D. thesis of Jerker Sundström.


  • Sundström J: Difficulties to read and write under lateral vibration exposure – Contextual studies of train passengers’ ride comfort. Ph.D. Thesis, TRITA AVE 2006:24, KTH Rail Vehicles, 2006.
  • Sundström J: Lateral vibration and train passengers’ activity comfort. Paper presented at the 41st UK Conference on Human Response to Vibration, Farnham, UK, 20-22 September, 2006.
  • Sundström J and Khan S M: Train passengers’ ability to read and write during lateral vibration transients. Paper presented at 13th International Congress on Sound and Vibration, Vienna, 2006.
  • Sundström J, Khan S and Andersson E: Passagerares upplevelse av vibrationer på tåg – Är våra tåg komfortabla? Transportforum, Linköping, 11-12 januari 2006.
  • Sundström J: How is train passengers’ reading and writing influenced by occasional lateral acceleration peaks? Paper presented at the 40th UK Conference on Human Response to Vibration, Liverpool,13-15 September, 2005.
  • Khan S and Sundström J: Vibration measurements in Swedish Inter-City trains – Evaluation of discomfort values. Paper presented at the 12th International Congress on Sound and Vibration, Lisbon, 2005.