Human behaviour in tunnels: what further steps to take?

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Abstract

Tunnel safety, especially in case of fires, has received a lot of attention due to heavy disasters. However, much attention is paid to controlling and extinguishing the fire, and not so much on the role of human behaviour. In this case, human behaviour includes the behaviour of road users, rail passengers, tunnel operators and emergency rescue services. Increasing the safety of tunnels starts with a proper design. The less chance of small accidents and incidents, the less chance of larger incidents or fires. Good design starts with proper lighting, signalling, enough lateral space and proper transitions from outside to inside the tunnel. In case of an accident or even a fire, In case of accidents or incidents in tunnels, the tunnel user has to understand what is going on in order to be able to show the right behavior. However, the question is whether knowing what is going on is sufficient, since people often underestimate a fire. The first period of a fire is very important, since there is no time to be lost. In case of fires, significant time can be lost from the moment the fire starts until people understand that they are in mortal danger and start of the actual the evacuation process. When this period is long, the possibility for loss of lives increases. Proper unambiguous signs should be provided (e.g. playing a fire alarm sound and specific instructions of a tunnel operator) and the same messages should be repeated via various channels. Information needs to be ‘over-complete’, with if possible a repetition of additional messages. Also, people with visible official status should be sent inside the tunnel to reinforce public address announcements and issue instructions to help people make the right decisions. Tunnel operators should inform the public and should stress that this is not a general message but that this is actually applying to them. Professional truck drivers should be trained to show the right behavior and stimulate others to evacuate. Many training and practice is required for operators and emergency personnel, where joint training exercises are of utmost importance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings from the Fifth International Symposium on Tunnel Safety and Security (ISTSS 2012) 2012 March 14-16, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden: New York, USA.
EditorsHaukur Ingason, Anders Lönnermark
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
PublisherSP Technical Research Institute of Sweden
Pages69-86
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2012

Publication series

Name
PublisherSP Technical Research Institute of Sweden

Keywords

  • METIS-286471
  • IR-84674

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  • Cite this

    Martens, M. H., & Jenssen, G. D. (2012). Human behaviour in tunnels: what further steps to take? In H. Ingason, & A. Lönnermark (Eds.), Proceedings from the Fifth International Symposium on Tunnel Safety and Security (ISTSS 2012) 2012 March 14-16, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden: New York, USA. (pp. 69-86). New York, NY, USA: SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden.