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Mobility and Transport

Initiative: Noise differentiated track access charges schemes

Background of the initiative

Noise is one of the most widespread public health problems in the European Union with serious costs to society. Railways, and especially the rail freight traffic, are the second most important source of noise in Europe with at least 19 million people estimated to be exposed to levels above 55 dB.

At present the most effective way to mitigate rail noise is by tackling noise at its source by retrofitting the existing freight wagons with composite brake blocks. This technical solution reduces rail noise by up to 10 dB, which equals to a 50% reduction in audible noise for humans. Therefore, the support of the retrofitting of wagons with the most economically viable low-noise braking technology available should be encouraged.

Directive on a single European railway area (Directive 2012/34/EU) empowered the Commission to develop rules for charging for rail noise. On this basis the Commission adopted Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/429 (hereafter the Regulation) that provides the legal framework for noise differentiated track access charges (NDTAC) schemes within the European Union. The prime objective of the Regulation is to contribute to the improvement of the well-being of the EU citizens and to reduce the risks to the competitiveness of the rail freight sector by incentivising retrofitting. The legislation obliges the Commission to assess the effects of the implementation of the noise differentiated track access charges schemes by 31 December 2018.

In December 2015 the Commission reviewed the existing measures aimed at effective reduction of rail noise of freight wagons

The Commission is currently also revising the technical specifications for freight wagons (TSI Noise) with a view to effectively address rail freight noise by retrofitting of existing freight wagons.


Main documents

All the information related to this evaluation, including the summary of all consultation activities' results will be published on this webpage.

The envisaged consultation activities include: the feedback on the evaluation roadmap, the open public consultation, call for written contributions; tailored questionnaires aimed at data gathering; interviews; expert group and final workshop.


Feedback on the evaluation roadmap

The evaluation roadmap was published on 27 October 2017 and remained open for the feedback of the public until 24 November 2017.

The relevant feedback from the industry, citizens and authorities is considered in the structuring of the evaluation and preparation of the further consultation activities.


Open public consultation

The public consultation questionnaire will target the general public, including citizens' associations, and will be available in English, French, German and Dutch. All replies can be made in any of the 24 official EU languages.

The questionnaire will be made available for contribution on the Commission's consultation portal in the first quarter of 2018. The questionnaire will be open for 12 weeks.

Please be aware that only replies submitted on-line via the questionnaire will be accepted. Any replies sent by e-mail or fax will NOT be accepted.

Further information on the public consultation will be provided soon.


Targeted consultation

  • Call for written contributions: Q2 2018
  • Tailored questionnaires: Q2 2018
  • Interviews: Q3 2018 – Q4 2018
  • Expert group: Q3 2018 – Q4 2018
  • Final workshop: Q4 2018

Most of the targeted consultations activities will be conducted by an external contractor during an evaluation support study with a view of the data and opinion collection. The targeted consultations will be aimed at different professional groups concerned by the measure or their umbrella organisations. The targeted stakeholders and expert consultations will be held primary in English. The expert group will be a dedicated Group of Experts on Rail Market Access subgroup and held in English. It will be composed of representatives of interested Member States and other relevant experts.

Further information on the targeted consultation activities will be provided soon.


Background documents

  • Directive 2012/34/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 November 2012 establishing a single European railway area
  • Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/429 of 13 March 2015 setting out the modalities to be followed for the application of the charging for the cost of noise effects
  • Commission Staff Working Document on rail freight noise reduction (SWD(2015) 300 final) of 22 December 2015
  • Commission Regulation (EU) No 1304/2014 of 26 November 2014 on the technical specification for interoperability relating to the subsystem ‘rolling stock — noise’ amending Decision 2008/232/EC and repealing Decision 2011/229/EU



For more information or additional questions please contact: DG MOVE Unit C3 (