Tuesday, 25 September 2018
Austroads has published guidance on the consistent, efficient and safe design of emergency egress signage and operations in road tunnels.
While there are Australian Standards relating to emergency egress signage, these were not originally intended for use in road tunnels and jurisdictions have developed their own bespoke requirements.
Most motorists would not have experienced evacuating a road tunnel. Unlike buildings, fire drills to familiarise occupants with evacuation routes are not possible and tunnel occupants may face different evacuation route types due to the length and complexity of the tunnel design.
Historically, the frequency of serious fires in road tunnels is low and designs include controls to limit the size of a fire and minimise smoke spread. However, occupant warnings and means of escape are still crucial safety controls. Consequentially, providing clear instruction and direction to tunnel occupants during an incident is vital for successful self-evacuation activities.
A key component to provide this direction is the provision of emergency evacuation signage within the tunnel.
This study identified and reviewed local and international standards relating to emergency evacuation signage and tunnel evacuation exercises.
The data was collated to identify evacuation signage that was mandatory to address regulatory requirements in addition to signage that was frequently used in road tunnels and could be considered a good practice approach.
In addition, the study assessed the signage provisions in numerous existing and under construction Australasian road tunnels, discussing the objectives of signage and its effectiveness.
A list of recommended emergency evacuation signage for use within Australasian road tunnels is provided in Appendix A. Schematics showing typical locations of egress signage are provided in Appendix B.