Safety in Road Tunnels – Safety Target Proposal

  • Jan Malmtorp Swedish Transport Administration, Solna, Sweden
  • Johan Lundin WSP, Stockholm-Globen, Sweden
  • Peter Lundman AFRY, Borlänge, Sweden
  • Per Vedin Swedish Transport Administration, Luleå, Sweden
Keywords: road tunnel, safety target, risk analysis, risk management


The purpose of this paper is to propose a quantitative target for assessment of life safety in road tunnels and describe how such a target can be utilized and developed further. The target is developed from an analysis of initiating events, accident statistics and analytical approaches and it makes it possible to tailor the safety concept in individual tunnels to meet the target by means of quantitative risk analyses. The results indicate that the practice proposed is beneficial for both quality and transparency in the decision-making, as well as it can be judged to have the potential to improve cost-efficiency in the safety related work. It is concluded that the target should be calibrated and evaluated with data from real tunnels before implementation and that the resulting safety level from present ruling is assessed. Also, it is concluded that the total cost to realize the safety target is assessed. It is recommended to put more effort on general accident prevention in tunnels compared to surface roads in order to reduce the number of events that may escalate beyond control. It is also recommended that the road tunnel safety learning processes are improved by routine collection, compilation and evaluation of data on road tunnel accidents as well as vehicle-fires and dangerous goods accidents in road traffic as a whole.


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