Countries that have many tunnels are endowed with regulations and have developed recommendations and guidelines for the design, construction, operation, maintenance, safety and the intervention of the rescue services.
Concerning safety conditions in road tunnels, countries belonging to the European Union are subjected to Directive 2004/54/CE that prescribes a minimum level of arrangements to be implemented in order to ensure the safety of users in tunnels longer than 500 m that are part of the trans-European road network. A wider group of European countries are also bound by an international convention, The European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) and includes specific arrangements for tunnels. Every member country has transposed these European regulations to its own national legislation. Some member countries have implemented additional regulations that are more demanding than the one that results from the transposition of the European regulation.
A list of the regulations and recommendations concerning the operation and the safety of road tunnels has been established in cooperation between the PIARC and the ITA Committee on Operational Safety of Underground Facilities (ITA-COSUF) of the international tunnelling and underground space association (ITA - AITES). This document can be consulted on the ITA-COSUF (Publications) web page. This list is not exhaustive but presents an international panel of twenty-seven countries and three international organisations.
Many countries do not have any regulations relating to tunnels and to tunnel safety, because they do not have road tunnels within their territory. It is recommended that these countries choose a complete and coherent package of the existing regulations of a country with lengthy experience in the field of tunnels, and not to multiply the origins of the documents by dipping into different sources. The recommendations of PIARC, as summarised in the present manual, as well as those of European directive 2004/54/EC also constitute international references that are being applied increasingly often.