Quantitative risk analysis for road tunnels complying with EU regulations

Konstantinos A. Kirytopoulos, Athanasios A. Rentizelas, Ilias P. Tatsiopoulos, George Papadopoulos

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Tunnels have improved the connection of regions within the European Commission (EC) and have been used lately as a catalyst for economic development of previously isolated regions. However, the increasing number of these important infrastructures is raising upfront an endogenous problem, which is the severity of accidents that may occur. These risks have much greater impact when heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) or dangerous goods (DGs) are involved in the accident. As a result, the EC launched the EC Directive 2004/54/EC. In order to achieve a minimum acceptable level of safety, the EC Directive 2004/54/EC suggests, apart from the measures imposed based on tunnel characteristics, the implementation of a risk analysis in cases such as the opening of the road tunnel to DGs. The most widely accepted method for such quantitative risk analysis (QRA) is the OECD/PIARC QRA Model. This research exploits the QRA Model to perform a QRA for five illustrative cases in order to explore the sufficiency of the minimum tunnel safety measures imposed by the Directive when transportation of HGVs and DGs is allowed through the tunnel. The research concludes that, at least for tunnels with marginal values of the EC Directive classes for length and traffic, the risk exposure (F/N curves) lays over the acceptable safety limits of ALARP (as low as reasonably practicable) models. Thus, the manager of the tunnel should take seriously into account the provision of the Directive for further risk analysis and consider more safety measures as well as take into account the risk associated with the alternative routes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number926787453
Pages (from-to)1027-1041
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Risk Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • dangerous goods
  • safety
  • quantitative analysis
  • risk analysis
  • road tunnel


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