Latest achievement and perspectives in tunnel safety

Through a tragic series of accidents the safety in European traffic tunnels has become a much discussed issue in public. This has lead to intensified multinational efforts to improve the safety levels for tunnel users and for the structures themselves. This paper gives an overview on the latest developments for safety in road tunnels by presenting: Background information on traffic development and the resulting need for underground solutions; Case information and statistics on fire accidents in tunnels; An analysis of the effects of fire in traffic tunnels; A description of the state-of-the-art in fire protection measures; Important hints on how to behave when driving through a road tunnel; A summary of the research and development activities supported by the European Commission. Various forecasts for the development of traffic in Europe over the next two to three decades have in common that a steep increase bringing European highways and other transport lines to the limit of their capacity. Combined with the demands from a growing world population and an increasing degree of urbanisation this leads to many tunnelling activities on a worldwide scale over the next 10-15 years. High safety levels and reliable availability are essential for all these tunnels. Recent fire accidents which have caught much attention in public and general accident statistics of vehicle fires make evident the necessity for improvements of the fire protection of tunnels and of the behaviour of drivers in tunnel. Considerable progress has been made in the development of fireproof tunnel linings and operational fire protection such as improved ventilation schemes. In addition to the manner in which tunnels are furnished, improved control of the state of vehicles and the composition of their loads could better safety standards in traffic tunnels. Joint efforts are imperative to arrive at enhanced and harmonised standards throughout Europe. Comprehensive research work recently launched by the European Commission as well as organised test programs contribute significantly in this way. (A). "Reprinted with permission from Elsevier". For the covering abstract see ITRD E124500.

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  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01011503
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Dec 19 2005 3:14PM