Road Tunnels Manual

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Sustainability Issues

The ‘’sustainable development’’ concept may have a slightly different meaning from one country to another and its scope may vary. However the most widely accepted concept is based on three main pillars: economic, environmental and societal.

The concept of sustainable development may be applied to different fields or sectors, including road tunnels, in particular for the operation of this type of infrastructure.

As we know, the operation of a road tunnel is highly dependent on the design and construction phases which precede its commissioning. More precisely it is necessary to take account of the effect of solutions opted for during a project’s design phase on subsequent operating conditions. In other words, this means that, if the chosen solution is not ideal, it will be very difficult to optimize it throughout the tunnel’ life cycle. The technical Report 2017R02EN "Road Tunnel operations: First steps towards a sustainable approach’’ is entirely devoted to sustainability issues and in particular, to optimizing the three pillars.

This chapter gives information about the three main pillars of the sustainable development concept. The balance between these pillars should be estimated accurately for each project design. Nevertheless we should have in mind that sustainable development represents a holistic approach of all involved sectors and parameters, as well as an acceptable and balanced weighting of economic, environmental and societal objectives.

 The chapter is broken down into four pages:

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