Deutsche Bahn has developed a new form of noise protection: transparent sound barriers are intended to absorb street noise and look good at the same time. We will explain to you how the so-called MetaWindow works.

It is a real innovation in the area of ​​noise protection and a world first: This is what Deutsche Bahn calls the so-called MetaWindow. These are transparent soundproof walls that combine the noise-absorbing properties of conventional walls with a new look.

This is how the MetaWindow works

The MetaWindow was created in collaboration with the Italian start-up Phonomic Vibes. The key is the use of metatechnology, explains the railway in an official press release. Thanks to the special geometry of the sound insulation system, it increases the acoustic efficiency compared to conventional noise protection systems.

The technology absorbs certain frequency ranges and, in combination with classic absorption material, ensures a high level of sound reduction. The noise barrier achieves sound insulation of 34 to 37 decibels. In addition, up to 72 percent of the surface is transparent.

“Transparent noise barriers available to date are significantly less effective in reducing noise and are therefore unsuitable for widespread use along the rails in accordance with the legal requirements,” explained the DB.

MetaWindow is intended to combine appearance and functionality

“In order to achieve our climate protection goals, we have to put more traffic on the rails, expand and expand the network,” says Berthold Huber from the DB Infrastructure Board. And further: “But only if rail traffic becomes quieter can we gain the necessary acceptance from local residents.”

The transparent wall is designed for places of high sensitivity where highly absorbent noise barriers are required by law. This is particularly true on railway lines in towns and villages, tourist areas and in “spectacular or protected natural landscapes”. “The MetaWindow avoids the intersection of visual axes and blends in better with the surrounding area.” In short: the new noise barriers are not so ugly and are still functional.

Transparent noise barriers cost more

Due to its complex construction, the MetaWindow would cost more than a conventional noise barrier, according to the DB. However, this only affects the pure material costs of the noise protection element. The other costs of construction, such as personnel and materials for the foundation and assembly, are excluded.

Deutsche Bahn presented the MetaWindow to the public for the first time as part of this year's GreenTech Festival. The company also plans to use the new invention in the construction of the S4 in Hamburg this year. As part of the “Green Transformation”, Deutsche Bahn wants to relieve the burden on all residents by 2050. That is why, among other things, 6,500 kilometers of the existing network should be noise-reduced by then.

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