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3 Project Background and oBjectives A number of fire and smoke incidents in underground passenger rail systems have occurred recently. NCHRP Synthesis 415: Design Fires in Road Tunnels, published in 2011, did not address fires in underground passenger rail systems. There are many differences between fires in road tunnels and those in underground passenger rail tunnels. Such differences require implementation of different measures to provide safety for passengers and assure structural and system integrity of the facilities and operating infrastructure. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) publishes NFPA 130: Standard for Fixed Guide- way Transit and Passenger Rail Systems. Every update incorporates the latest technologies. However, many legacy systems designed to code existing at the time of construction do not meet the current standards provided in NFPA 130. The purposes of this synthesis are to explore these issues and document effective practices in the planning and design for fire and smoke incidents in underground passenger rail systems. What are the challenges faced by rail agencies in the design and upgrade of protocols or systems for fire and smoke detection and incident management, and what lessons have transit agencies learned in addressing these challenges? The study identifies effective strategies for achieving agency goals and best practice solutions. The synthesis report includes a review of relevant literature. Results of a sur- vey of North American rail transit agencies that operate in tunnels document policies and procedures currently in place. The survey examined the following factors: â¢ Definition of underground/enclosed (tunnel) asset; â¢ Definition of a fire and smoke scenario, causes, and response; â¢ Protocol, procedures, and systems for fire and smoke incident management; â¢ Fire and smoke detection, prevention, protection, and ventilation systems; â¢ Passenger and employee evacuation and egress; â¢ The impact of active and passive fire protection systems; â¢ Training and familiarization for employees and responders; and â¢ Codes and standards used in the planning and design of new and upgraded assets. Survey results include transit agency assessments of the challenges in planning and design for underground fire and smoke incidents, lessons learned, new technologies, promising approaches, and the âidealâ fire prevention and response system. An important element of this synthesis is chapter five, which contains case examples that go into greater detail on specific aspects of individual agenciesâ policies and procedures related to under- ground fire and smoke incidents. The case examples profile innovative and successful practices based on interviews with key personnel at selected agencies. Findings from all of these efforts are combined to report on the state of the practice, including lessons learned, challenges, and gaps in information. A summary of research needs also is included. This synthesis will aid rail transit agencies by identifying solutions that work in the real world. chapter one introduction
4 technical aPProach The approach to this synthesis included: 1. A literature review. A Transportation Research Information Database search using several key words was conducted to aid the literature review. 2. A survey of transit agencies, described in the following paragraphs. 3. Telephone interviews with six agencies selected as case examples, to examine policies and procedures related to fire and smoke incidents in greater detail. The survey on planning and design for fire and smoke incidents in underground passenger rail systems was designed to solicit information on detection and prevention, incident management, training, effective strategies, issues specific to legacy systems, and next-generation technologies. Once finalized by the panel, the survey was posted and pretested. The pretest resulted in only minor changes to survey logic and flow. The sampling plan involved all North American rail transit agencies that operate in underground tunnels. The sample included 30 transit agencies (29 local transit agencies plus Amtrak). An e-mail with an attachment from the TCRP program manager explaining the importance of the survey and a link to the online survey site was sent to a known contact at each agency. Twenty-five completed surveys were received from the 30 rail transit agencies in the sample, a response rate of 83%. In addition, three partially completed surveys were received, and responses from the partially completed surveys are included in this analysis. Table 1 presents the distribution of all responding agencies by size. Table 2 shows rail modes operated by responding agencies. Seven agencies operate multiple modes. Table 3 presents the distribution of responding agencies by FTA region. There is reasonably balanced geographical representation among survey respondents. Figure 1 is a map of FTA regions. Figure 2 shows the location of the 25 responding agencies that fully completed the survey. Amtrak is not shown because it is a national rail agency. Case example locations also are shown in Figure 2. No. of Rail Vehicles Operated in Maximum Service No. of Agencies Responding % Agencies Responding Less than 100 6 21 100 to 499 12 43 500 and more 10 36 Total responses 28 100 TAblE 1 RESPONDINg TRANSIT AgENCIES by SIzE Rail Mode No. of Agencies Responding % Agencies Responding Heavy rail only 10 36 Light rail only 6 21 Commuter rail only 5 18 All three modes 3 11 Heavy rail plus light rail 2 7 Commuter rail plus light rail 2 7 Total responses 28 100 TAblE 2 RAIl MODES OPERATED by RESPONDINg AgENCIES
5 FTA Region No. of Agencies Responding % Agencies Responding 1 1 4 2 7 25 3 5 18 4 1 4 5 3 11 6 1 4 7 0 0 8 0 0 9 4 14 10 1 4 Non-U.S. (Canada) 4 14 National (Amtrak) 1 4 Total 28 100 NOTE: Percentages do not add to 100% because of rounding. SOURCES: FTA, survey results. TAblE 3 SuRvEy RESPONDENTS by FTA REgION FIGURE 1 Map of FTA regions (Source: FTA).
6 organization of this rePort Following this introductory chapter, chapter two summarizes the findings of the literature review. Chapter three, the first of two chapters to present the results of the survey, examines definitions, incidents and causes, incident management, communication with local jurisdictions, and training. Chapter four discusses the responding agenciesâ assessment of actions taken. The chapter sum- marizes agency assessment of barriers to success, lessons learned, new technologies, promising strategies and approaches, and elements of the âidealâ fire prevention and response system. Chapter five reports detailed findings from each of the six case examples. The selection process for case examples had the following criteria: (1) include transit agencies of various sizes in different parts of North America; (2) include agencies operating different rail modes; and (3) include agencies that reported detailed observations in the survey that would add value to the synthesis. Chapter six summarizes the findings, presents conclusions from this synthesis project, and offers items for future study. Findings from the surveys and particularly the case examples provide an appraisal of the current state of the practice and likely future directions. Appendix A identifies all transit agencies that participated in the survey. Appendix b includes the online survey. Appendix C provides verbatim survey responses. FIGURE 2 Location of survey respondents and case examples (Source: GIS Workshop).