“Great Place to Stay. Beware the Train!”

Friday, September 16, 2016
4:00 p.m. in ETC 4.150

David A. Nelson, INCE Bd. Cert., PE
Nelson Acoustics
Elgin, Texas

It’s a nice hotel, convenient to everything, comfortable, nice staff, etc. But one-third of the online reviews mention its only drawback: the train. A freight train passes behind the hotel roughly once per hour. Guests are being awakened, sometimes several times per night. The economics of the situation are equally unpleasant: regular refunds given and clientele potentially lost through unhappy internet reviews significantly affect the bottom line. Audible sound and vibration entering through windows, air conditioners, and even the ground, combine to produce a 2-in-5 chance of being awakened. Evaluation of the relative contribution of the various sound paths was challenging because of the (acoustically) tight quarters. The benefit of noise control options were compared in terms of their potential to reduce awakenings, which is far more meaningful to the client than decibel values.