In New York City, late trains and a few rat sightings aren’t the only things subway commuters have to worry about. Over the years, studies have repeatedly found that the subways are too loud—loud enough to damage riders’ hearing. 

But when the city’s long-awaited Second Avenue subway line opens—theoretically in December 2016, though no one would be surprised if it was delayed yet one more time in the project’s almost century-long history—it’s going to be much quieter than the rest of the system. Arup, the engineering firm behind the new line, has been building acoustic models of the subway stations to figure out how to quiet the roar of commuting, as WIRED reports

Using digital models built on acoustic recordings collected from real stations, Arup has tweaked the station designs to make it easier to hear and understand the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s notoriously garbled announcements.

The new, noise-muffling designs for the Second Avenue lines include low-vibration tracks, sound-absorbent, curved ceilings, and speakers angled directly at riders, among other measures. 

Hear the difference:

Now if only they could design away all the rest of New York City's noise problems

[h/t WIRED]