Road Tunnels Manual

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5.4. Sustainable tunnel operation

The current international trend is to demand from road operators and road authorities that they should promote an efficient use of energy and to adopt sustainable methods for the construction and operation of public roads.

PIARC throughout its history has published several reports aiming at improving the efficiency of tunnel operations, the reduction of operating costs, and the mitigation of environmental impacts.

With the world population increasing, and several natural resources running scarce, sustainable development has justifiably become a topic of interest in various domains of society in the past decades. The field of infrastructure is no exception.

However, within this field, there are few guidelines and best practices available that specifically address the sustainability of road tunnels.

Moreover, so far, the World Road Association has not issued any recommendations for road tunnels which reflect the current ‘state of the art’ in various countries. This is understandable from the viewpoint that road tunnels are just a small part of the road network as a whole. On the other hand, when you take into account that road tunnels are complex and expensive objects, with a life cycle that normally spans more than 100 years, it becomes clear that the concept of sustainable development is of great relevance here.

The technical report 2017R02EN "Road tunnel operations: first steps towards a sustainable approach" was therefore developed as an initial means of making up for this shortfall.

Reference sources

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