Safety is a precondition for our infrastructure. In many cases, current regulations are not adequate for existing buildings. TNO uses analysis and assessment methods to develop frameworks for ensuring that infrastructure can continue to be used safely. This means that structures are not replaced until this is actually necessary, thereby reducing costs and nuisance.
Although 100% safety cannot be guaranteed, we are committed to keeping the risk of accidents to a minimum. Our knowledge in this field is incorporated in standards and requirements relating to safety and reliability. However, it is not always possible to apply these requirements in the case of complex situations or damage to public works. Furthermore, regulations for new buildings are less appropriate for assessing the safety of existing structures. Uncertainties need to be calculated more precisely and reduced, for example through field measurements or tests. Risk analysis can also identify risks and show which measures can reduce them to an acceptable level. TNO applies this broad knowledge of infrastructure safety issues primarily in areas such as structural safety (e.g. of bridges, viaducts and tunnels) as well as water safety and flood risk. We also assess damage claims, and the resulting information is useful for other structures.
TNO uses probabilistic calculations in its risk assessments and risk analyses. Probabilistic assessment calculates the likelihood of a particular outcome, or the failure probability. These calculations can also be based on data from other scientific disciplines. This approach provides a realistic assessment of the failure probability, so that infrastructure replacement work can be postponed until it is really necessary.
TNO is active in:
- Damage investigation. We carry out damage investigation in order to establish the cause and determine the measures required to repair the damage.
- Water safety. In this area we work with Deltares, a research institute in the field of water and substructure. We contribute our knowledge of probabilistic methods and structures.
- Tunnel safety. Our research in this area relates to assessing the structural and internal safety of tunnels in terms of traffic and the probability of explosions and fire. This work includes risk analysis.
- Traffic impact on public works. Accurate information on traffic impact provides valuable input for assessing the safety of the public infrastructure. TNO develops models for the realistic calculation of traffic impact.
- Probabilistics. We use probabilistic methods to calculate uncertainties with regard to safety issues.