The project “Evacuation route design” is part of the “Stockholm Bypass, tunnel safety studies”, co-funded by the EU Trans-European transport network (TEN-T). The results of this work are intended to assist the design of the evacuation systems in the Stockholm Bypass project by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket). Also, general recommendations on the characteristics of evacuation systems for road tunnel evacuation will be provided. The project will end in February 2015.
The scope of the project is to assist road tunnel safety designers and operators in the assessment of the appropriate emergency systems in the case of road tunnel evacuation. Different systems for road tunnel evacuation emergencies are tested and evaluated within this research project. The study is divided into three parts investigating different issues.
In part 1 of the project, the following systems are evaluated through a literature review and a questionnaire study:
- Variable Message Signs (e.g. traffic information panels) for conveying information to motorists about an emergency which requires an evacuation
- The design of the colour scheme of emergency exit portals
- The design of acoustic warning systems (e.g., warning signals) for road tunnel emergencies
In part 2 of the project, the design of flashing lights at emergency exit portals are studied by means of a Virtual Reality (VR) experiment in the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) laboratory at Lund University. Recommendations on the design of the following variables of flashing lights will be provided:
- Colour of flashing lights
- Flashing rate
- The type of light source
- The number and layout of the lights on the portal
In part 3 of the project, the selected design will be tested in a full scale tunnel environment filled with artificial smoke. This experiment will increase the current understanding on human behaviour in tunnel evacuation and study travel speeds in smoke. For example, one aim is to see how people can find an emergency exit from the opposite side of the tunnel cross section.