Tunnel Technology - Visions

  Simulation of a road tunnel Copyright: © ISAC

The Tunnel Technology Department deals with various aspects related to the safe and economical operation of road tunnels. Among other things, the Institute of Highway Engineering at RWTH Aachen University focuses its research on safety and ventilation systems of tunnel facilities as well as on the investigation of fluid mechanical phenomena by means of simulation. In addition to the safety aspect, environmental issues also play a decisive role. Insights gained can be implemented in new constructions as well as integrated in existing tunnels.

Improving tunnel ventilation holds great potential in many respects: Optimal tunnel ventilation contributes significantly to safety in the event of an emergency. In regular operation, it also conserves economic and ecological resources. The current safety situation in German tunnels is satisfactory. Nevertheless, there is still a need for research, especially in the detection and interpretation of incidents. The institute is currently researching solutions for faster detection, based on the possibilities of artificial intelligence, in order to optimize the rescue chain. AI-optimized incident detection, for example, opens up new possibilities for fire suppression, fire detection and fire fighting.

Another research focus is working with flow simulations. Unlike scale-constrained experimental model setups, simulations provide a real-scale representation of flow phenomena. Model setups are nevertheless very useful to validate and verify simulations. To this end, we at ISAC also plan to build and commission a water model tunnel in the coming years. This will allow a better visualization of the distribution of exhaust gases and the mixing of tunnel air with exhaust gases.


Sample Projects

SMaRt - Supporting the Man-in-the-loop in Roadtunnel

TunNOₓ - Reduction of nitrogen oxide pollution in the vicinity of road tunnels using photocatalytic reactors

AUTUKAR - Highly automated tunnel monitoring for disaster management and regular operation

ESIMAS - Real-time safety management system for road tunnels

isacVITO - Video Detection in Road Tunnels

You can also find further examples and information on Ongoing Research Projects and Completed Research Projects in Traffic Engineering.