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7 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION BACKGROUND Tunnel Design and Construction Manual 2010 (3) and Rec- ommendations for Bridge and Tunnel Security (4). A Do- This synthesis reports on the state of knowledge and practice mestic Tunnel Scan conducted in August and September for design fires in road tunnels. It includes a review of the 2009, lead to the report, Best Practices for Roadway Tunnel, literature and research on current practices. A survey of trans- Design, Construction, Maintenance, and Operation (5). portation agencies and tunnel owners to obtain their expe- riences and practices with tunnel fire life safety systems such This synthesis report provides a literature review and syn- as ventilation, fire protection, and detection is included. The thesis analysis of the latest available information, current prac- survey solicited transportation agency opinions regarding tice, knowledge, and relevant research information related problems with these systems, gaps in the current knowledge, to design fires in road tunnels. It includes a collection and and what improvements they would like to see made. documentation of statistical data of fire incidents in road tun- nels since 1949 through the last decade; collection and docu- There has been considerable growth in tunnel construction mentation of existing data from fire tests in road tunnels; and in the United States and worldwide, as well as an increase in identification of the gaps in this information. This informa- road traffic. This has resulted in a societal concern with tun- tion was organized into a concise document that describes nel safety. Over the past several years, fires in road tunnels current knowledge and practice. The final report provides from large vehicles have shown the risks and consequences of practical solutions for fire life safety problems. inadequate prevention. More than 50 individuals have died in road tunnel fires in Europe over the last 10 years. The The report includes: national fire analysis and research that was done in 2008 concluded that a fire occurs in a structure once every 61 s. Different design standards, guidelines, documents, and Fires occur in vehicles once every 134 s, and there were codes used worldwide. 236,000 vehicle fires in the United States in 2008. In 2008, A synthesis of the results of different international proj- 350 individuals died in highway vehicle fires in the United ects and their recommendations. States. Recent catastrophic tunnel fires have not only resulted Tunnel fire events worldwide and their consequences. in loss of life and severe property damage, but also left the Tunnel fire tests results, including full- and small-scale public with a decrease in confidence in the building and oper- experiments and gaps in those tests. ation of new and existing tunnels. Although over the years The latest developments, lessons learned, and identi- much research has been carried out on tunnel safety, there are fication of gaps in available information to provide a still many gaps in tunnel fire information that can cause dif- foundation for design guidance. ficulties for tunnel designers. This synthesis report is focused on tunnel fire dynamics Several NCHRP research studies, work by the TRB Ac- and means of fire management for design guidance. The cess Management Committee, and publications by TRB, objective of the study was to synthesize the available infor- AASHTO, ITE, FHWA, NTSB and others have provided mation related to design fires in roadway tunnels, identify information and materials to state and local agencies on gaps in that information, and provide a framework for design tunnel safety. NCHRP Report 525: Volume 12, Making guidance. The information obtained for this project can help Transportation Tunnels Safe and Secure (TCRP Report 86) state departments of transportation (DOTs), industry, and addresses tunnel safety and security issues (1). The Inter- other stakeholders as a basis for design guidance in making national Technology Scanning Program, sponsored by tunnels safer. AASHTO and FHWA, issued a report in 2006, Underground Transportation Systems in Europe: Safety, Operations, and Emergency Response, with the objective of discovering what PROJECT OVERVIEW is being done internationally for underground transportation systems with regard to safety, operations, and emergency Every tunnel is unique, which makes it difficult to generalize response (2). A number of recommendations and design design, and fire safety needs to be reviewed in an integral manuals have been issued by the FHWA, including Road fashion. This comprises all aspects of fire safety, including