Activity Group 2 of ITA COSUF covers regulations, the state-of-the-art and best-practices internationally. This includes discussion and comparison of regulations, norms, standards and best-practice procedures from different owners, networks, projects and the experience gained by them. Activity Group 2, one of four pillars of the Committee on Operational Safety of Underground Facilities (COSUF), has an important review role in new and published national and international regulations on tunnel safety and security.
Although accident rates in road and rail tunnels are low and fires are not especially common in tunnels, the consequences of fires in a tunnel can be far more severe than for similar fires in the open air. Large tunnel fires have shown the devastating effects of smoke and heat on people escaping from tunnels. Additionally, fires have caused severe damage to tunnel structures and financial losses due to interrupted operation. As a consequence, the required fire safety measures for tunnel infrastructures have become more stringent in recent years.
The first guideline “An Engineering Methodology for Performance-Based Fire Safety Design of Underground Rail Systems” shall improve the safety design of underground mass rapid transit systems (MRTS). It fills a gap, as current safety requirements for rail tunnels and underground systems, compared to road tunnels, are less specific and lack international harmonization. The focus of this document is on the methodology to be followed while analyzing the effectiveness of any safety measure of MRTS. The performance-based approach aims at integrating the different methods to achieve a safe tunnel design including standards and norms. As the topic is complex, the methodology at hand needs further refinement in the future and is considered as a first proposal only.
First published in May 2014 by Activity Group 2 – Regulations and Best Practice – of ITA COSUF, there is a great demand on this guideline.
Recent studies show that the increase of road traffic will continue in future. More traffic leads directly to a more accidents, and therefore to an increasing risk of hazards to persons and a potential accumulation of structural damage. Since tunnels contribute as prior components and bottlenecks in the transportation system, a high availability is also of major importance.
Different measures are foreseen for tunnels to support the predefined protection goals within the overall safety concept. The main protection targets are first of all personal safety, but also the support of all blue light emergency services as well as structural protection. However, the primary goal is to prevent such incidents and so consequently preventive measures for tunnels gain more and more importance.
The second guideline “Survey of Existing Regulations and Recognised Recommendations – Operation and Safety of Road Tunnels” of the Activity Group 2 has been prepared by internationally renowned experts in the field of road tunnel safety and provides a list of existing legislation, regulations and recognized guidelines regarding operation and safety of road tunnels. It intends to be a tool and a knowledge base for all those involved in road tunnel safety. The topics covered by this report are all aspects that are related to safety facilities, operational means and procedures, safety approaches, risk analysis and evaluation, etc.
An overview was published in April 2008 for the first time. In December 2013, it was felt necessary to update the document because numerous new regulations and recommendations had been released. The present guideline now is the result of an updating process and includes updated information received from 13 countries: Austria, Canada (Quebec), France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea and Spain. Additionally, the information from international organizations has been updated by World Road Association (PIARC).
ITA COSUF is the Centre of Excellence for world-wide exchange of information and know-how regarding safety and security of underground facilities in operation. Keeping this alive, there are actually four Activity Groups working on different topics:
• Activity Group 1 – Interaction with European and International Initiatives
• Activity Group 2 – Regulations and Best Practice
• Activity Group 3 – Research and New Findings
• Activity Group 4 – Road Tunnel Safety Officers
ITA COSUF is the first committee of the ITA, the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association, founded in 2005. It is the Centre of Excellence consisting of approximately 80 corporate member organisations and companies from 25 countries all over the world. For information, visit www.ita-cosuf.org.