Arie Bleijenberg MSc
- asset management
Tunnels involve specific issues. The most important of these is safety, and both technical risks and human behaviour play an important role. Air quality near tunnel mouths and noise nuisance are also aspects that require attention. TNO has contributed specialist knowledge to the proper and safe functioning of almost all the tunnels in the Netherlands, and to the realisation of legislation and regulations for these civil works.
The first tunnels were built under the major rivers and canals. They enabled different traffic flows to be routed past each other. From the beginning of the 1980s, spatial integration of infrastructure was a further reason to build tunnels. There are now 60 tunnels in the Netherlands, and 12 new ones are being built. In recent decades, tunnels have been built at an average rate of one per year. This number will probably increase as urbanisation continues.
Accidents in tunnels can have serious consequences because a tunnel is a closed system. Escape is difficult if an explosion occurs or fire breaks out. Human behaviour – including that of drivers, operators and emergency services – is an important factor in this, and is taken into consideration as early as the design stage. Knowledge and expertise from a range of disciplines are utilised to reduce the probability and impact of disasters.
TNO provides knowledge in the following fields: