Speech Privacy in High-Speed Train Cabins
Professor Jeon Jin-yong (Department of Architectural Engineering)
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Professor Jeon Jin-yong of the Department of Architectural Engineering is an expert in the field of architectural acoustics. His paper, “Control of interior surface materials for speech privacy in high-speed train cabins,” discusses a novel method of using the sound masking technique along with the interior sound dynamics inside the train itself. At times, Speech Transmission Index (STI) is required in Europe and North America for announcements made in trains. During the period of 2012-15, with the support of Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement (KAIA), Jeon had the opportunity to create architectural sound design for trains.
Jeon has experienced a serious problem about five years ago while riding a KTX train and had a chance to hear the ladies talking at the back about seven rows away from him. All the speeches being made by the ladies were being bounced on the shelves of the KTX and reached the other passengers which meant that everyone was listening to their conversation. After the experience, Jeon has decided to set up a new guideline on high speed trains for speech privacy between people. There are also surveys that point out that the most annoying noise on KTX users being the conversation between people by 31.8%.
It is suggested by Jeon that the back of the chairs should be high and there should be the minimum space between the chairs in order to block out the conversation from being overheard. Since sound travels through the air and bounces from walls to ceilings, less space being provided for it to move around freely is a way to retain speech privacy. In addition, the material for chairs, ceilings, and side walls being high sound absorption material is suggested to reduce the interior noise. There is yet to be studies made on its fire resistance performance evaluation, weight lightening, and maintenance.
Sound masking has been one of the solutions as to provide speech privacy. It is the beating, squeaking and rattling noises that are created outside the train being intentionally flow into the train to cover up the conversation between people at about 50 to 60 dB. Speed trains with no interior noise has the features that allows the sound of human voice to travel through the space such as low ceiling, long space, and narrow walls. However, sound masking does not suggest interior noise to be too high since it would make the passengers dissatisfied. It means that there has to be enough interior noise in order to secure the speech privacy.
Through Jeon’s studies made with computer programs and 1:10 scale sized KTX models, it is now suggested that high speed trains being produced nowadays provide enough speech privacy. After having contributed to the society through his novel findings, Jeon wishes to continue with the studies even further to solve the problem of noise complaint issues between neighbors through deep learning programs.
Kim Seung-jun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Kim Youn-soo
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