Road Tunnels Manual

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4.7 Feedback from operation and incidents

The collection of data regarding incidents and accidents and their analysis is essential both for the evaluation of the operation criteria and for the assessment of risks in the tunnel. All of this is important with a view to a continuous improvement in tunnel safety. The collected data allow, in particular, the evaluating of the frequency of triggering events. Data also provide a feedback regarding the consequences of events and also the effective role and the effectiveness of safety measures and equipment. They also provide additional information on the real behaviour of tunnel users.

The collection and analysis of data regarding incidents and accidents should allow the following two objectives to be achieved:

  • At a local level (i.e. at the level of each single tunnel): they form an important base for the definition and evaluation of improvement to be decided by the owner of the tunnel. They are also a decision-making aid for the general improvement of safety in a given road network;
  • At a national and international level: they form a key basis for the reference framework allowing authorities to formulate and adapt the general policies related to tunnel safety. In particular, they allow quantifying the magnitude (in terms of frequency and severity) of critical events that can cause a danger to the life of users. They also allow measuring the efficacy of safety installations and in certain cases, comparing the level of safety in a given tunnel with national or international safety data.

Lastly, they provide information (national statistics according to the type of tunnel) useful for the analysis of risks relating tunnels in project stage or tunnels under operation that do not yet have an adequate database.

The lessons drawn from the operation, particularly during incidents and accidents, should be analysed. In fact if the results of these analyses reveal deficiencies, there is an opportunity to intervene by improving strategies and/or operating instructions.

The Chapter 3 "Collection and analysis of data on road tunnel incidents" of Technical Report 2009R08 defines in detail the conditions for analysing data from incidents and/or accidents.

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