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Research Report 703 Investigation of the external noise emitted from electric buses in New Zealand and the need for acoustic vehicle alerting systems to improve road user safety

Published: | Category: Healthy and safe people , Research programme , Research & reports | Audience: General

This research aimed to identify the need for and applicability of Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems (AVAS – noises made on purpose from vehicles) for electric buses in New Zealand. It completed two studies (in Auckland and Wellington) to first, measure noise differences between electric and diesel buses in New Zealand, and secondly, to measure people’s ability to detect them in urban street environments.

Overall, findings did not suggest a clear difference in detection distance or detectability between diesel and electric buses. In Auckland, diesel buses were more likely to be detected, and detected earlier than electric buses, but there was considerable overlap in the data. In Wellington, the difference in detection was not significant according to bus type. However, the greatest detection distances were usually associated with diesel buses. These results broadly align with findings from literature in that electric buses are quieter than diesel buses below 30km/h, which was the speed at which most buses in our testing passed participants.

AVAS, disability, electric bus, noise, pedestrian safety

BR Doran, MRCagney, Hamilton
K Crossland, MRCagney, Hamilton
S Wilkening, Marshall Day Acoustics, Auckland
V Warren, Marshall Day Acoustics, Auckland

Publication details

  • Author:
  • Published: November 2022
  • Reference: 703
  • ISBN/ISSN: 978-1-99-004495-3