Air & Transportation

Environmental Quality Standards for Shinkansen Superexpress Railway Noise

Latest Amendment by Environment Agency
Notification No. 91 of 1993

In accordance with the provisions of Article 16 of the Basic Environment Law (Law No. 91 of 1993), the environmental conditions relating to Shinkansen Superexpress Railway noise standards are notified as follows.
The standards for regulating the environmental conditions of Shinkansen Superexpress Railway noise are established as follows according to Article 9 of the Basic Law for Environmental Quality Standards and the target dates for achievement thereof. The maintenance of the standards is desirable to preserve the living environment and to contribute to protecting people's health.

I. Environmental quality standards

1. The values of the environmental quality standards are established for each category of area shown in Table 1. Prefectural governors shall designate the category of area.

Table 1.
Category of areaStandard value [in dB]
70 or less
75 or less
Area category I refer to areas used mainly for residential purpose and area category II refers to other areas, including commercial and industrial areas, where the normal living conditions shall be preserved.

2. The environmental quality standards values referred to in paragraph 1 above are measured and evaluated using the following method.

(1) Measurements shall be carried out by recording the peak noise level of each of the Shinkansen trains passing in both directions, in principle, for 20 successive trains.

(2) Measurements shall be carried out outdoors and in principle at the height of 1.2 meters above the ground. Measurement points shall be selected to represent the Shinkansen railway noise levels in the area concerned, as well as points where the noise is posing a problem.

(3) Any period when there are special weather conditions or when the speed of the trains is considered lower than normal shall be avoided when selecting the measurement time.

(4) The Shinkansen railway noise shall be evaluated by the energy mean value of the higher half of the measured peak noise levels.

(5) The measuring instrument used shall be a noise meter that meets the requirements of Article 88 of the Measuring Law (Law No. 207 of 1951), with A-weighted calibration and slow dynamic response.

3. The environmental quality standards provided for in paragraph 1 shall apply to Shinkansen railway noise from 6 a.m. to 12 midnight.

II. Target dates for achievement

Efforts shall be made in cooperation with related administrations and prefectural governments to meet and maintain the environmental quality standards within the target dates for achievement specified for each classification of zones along the Shinkansen Superexpress Railway lines as shown in Table 2.
In areas where it is deemed difficult to attain the environmental quality standards within the target dates for achievement, measures shall be taken to control the Shinkansen railway noise, such as soundproofing houses, with a view to obtaining indoor conditions equivalent to the ones where the environmental quality standards are being met.
Even if endeavors fail to meet the standards within target dates for achievement, such efforts shall be continued in order to meet the environmental quality standards as soon as possible.

Table 2.
Classification of zones along the Shinkansen Superexpress railway (Unit: dB(A))Target dates for achievement
Existing linesLines under constructionNew lines
a zones 80 or more Within 3 years Immediately on start of service Immediately on start of service
b Zones more than 75 and less than 80 A Within 7 years Within 3 years of start of service
B Within 10 years
c Zones more than 70 and 75 or less Within 10 years Within 5 years of start of service
  1. The subdivision A under the b classification refers to zones within the region in which there is a succession of category I areas, and subdivision B refers to zones besides subdivision A.
  2. The existing lines, lines under construction, and new lines in the table refer to the following.
    (1) Existing Lines: The Tokyo-Hakata section
    (2) Lines Under Construction: Tokyo-Morioka, Omiya-Niigata, and Tokyo-Narita sections
    (3) New Lines: New lines, being those other than the lines of the preceding (1) and (2).
  3. With respect to existing lines, the target dates for achievement are calculated from the day on which the environmental quality standards are established.

III. Implementation policy for noise controls

1. In implementing noise controls for the Shinkansen Superexpress Railway, the area a shall be given priority and special attention.

2. The methods of implementing noise controls for areas b and c along existing lines shall reflect the state of progress of policies to overcome obstacles relating to the development and implementation of sound source control technology, the system for such implementation, and revenue measures, all with respect to area a.