Rail transport is an environmentally responsible approach and traffic is expected to increase in the coming decades. Little is known about the implications for quality of life of populations living close to railways. This study explores the way in which vibrations from rail are perceived and described by these populations. The study took place in the Vastra Gotaland and Varmland regions of Sweden. A qualitative study approach was undertaken using semi-structured interviews within a framework of predetermined questions in participants’ homes. A 26.3% response rate was achieved and 17 participants were interviewed. The experience of vibrations was described in tangible terms through different senses. Important emerging themes included habituation to and acceptance of vibrations, worry about property damage, worry about family members and general safety. Participants did not reflect on health effects, however, chronic exposure to vibrations through multimodal senses in individual living environments may reduce the possibility for restoration in the home. Lack of empowerment to reduce exposure to vibrations was important. This may alter individual coping strategies, as taking actions to avoid the stressor is not possible. The adoption of other strategies, such as avoidance, may negatively affect an individual’s ability to cope with the stressor and their health.
Document type: Article
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