Our work

Tunnel safety

Accidents in tunnels can have serious consequences. When an explosion or fire occurs in an enclosed system, the fire can spread to other vehicles and escape is difficult. TNO has unique expertise in safety aspects relating to operational tunnels and to the design and construction of new tunnels.

At the design stage, the emphasis is on keeping the probability and impact of disasters to a minimum. We have knowledge of:

  • structural safety.
  • fire risk and the behaviour of fires and explosions in tunnels.
  • technical installations in tunnels (e.g. emergency exits, fire extinguishers, sprinklers).
  • traffic safety and motorist behaviour.
  • specific issues relating to hazardous materials (including control measures such as transport restrictions).
  • air quality.
  • training for tunnel operators and emergency services (e.g. with a simulator). This knowledge is combined in a quantitative risk assessment (QRA), the basis for determining whether, for example, a tunnel design complies with current safety standards. We also use qualitative risk analysis methods.

Assessing risks

TNO has expertise in all these areas, and in related areas. TNO can also provide risk assessment methods for non-standard situations. In the field of tunnel safety, TNO works with the Netherlands Institute for Safety (IFV), where TNO researcher Dr Nils Rosmuller holds the TNO/IFV lectureship at the National Expertise Centre for Transport Safety.

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Arie Bleijenberg MSc

  • infrastructure
  • asset management


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