This article examines traffic development, safety considerations, and user reactions in relation to road tunnel management. It discusses accidents and approaches to increasing tunnel safety. The demand for road tunnelling and longer road tunnels is increasing. The advantages of road tunnels include limiting noise and air pollution. They also have the disadvantages of high investment and operational costs and accident risks. Their increased safety risk is due to a slight alteration of drivers' behaviour in tunnels, due to the absence of their normal surroundings. In the transition zone between open road space and the tunnel, drivers tend to reduce vehicle speeds and headways, and tunnel roads often have no hard shoulders. These factors often endanger traffic flow and raise accident risk. Lorry traffic will increase, leading to still higher risks. Tunnels usually have lower accident rates than open roads, but the rates depend strongly on the nature of individual tunnels; urban tunnels are most dangerous. Road tunnel accidents are usually nose-to-tail or lane-changing collisions, or self-caused. Most tunnel delays are caused by punctures. Tunnel safety facilities include lighting, ventilation, communications, and fire detectors and extinguishers. A safety strategy is also needed.

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  • Corporate Authors:


    PO BOX 452
    KEMPSTON, BEDFORD,   United Kingdom  MK43 9PL
  • Authors:
    • Baltzer, W
  • Publication Date: 1999-2


  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00766943
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Aug 2 1999 12:00AM