|Rail transport poses severe challenges
in terms of safety and environmental impact, with high speed trains
representing a particular challenge for Europe. In Japan 2000 km of
high-tech slab tracks have already been installed and Europe is clearly
lagging in a potentially enormous international market.
In this project, a horizontal consortium including
two manufacturers and an end user carried out fundamental research
aimed at improving slab tracks for light and high-speed railways.
The principle goal and result was the demonstration of reduced environmental
impact, including reduction of ground vibration, containment of
acoustic nuisance and reduction of maintenance costs.
Prototype tracks are now in use in the
Italian and Spanish rail systems, and in Italian subways. Potential
new applications can also be envisaged in the construction and heavy
industry sectors where the reduction of noise and vibrations could