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Improving the interactions between tunnels, operators and users for greater safety

ACTEURS project



Despite regulatory changes and the growing sophistication of technical tools available with regard to tunnel operation and management, drivers’ behaviour does not always correspond to the desired optimum level in terms of tunnel safety. The ACTEURS project aims to resolve this issue through a better understanding of the interactions between users’ behaviour and the situations encountered in tunnels. The study of users’ behaviour in tunnels, and of the determining factors behind this behaviour, contributes to research into how safety can be improved, leading to the production of ideas, rules, and principles for the design and/or operation of tunnels (and the technical systems that equip these tunnels), in such a way as to make users’ behaviour and the proposed designs, in the broadest sense, more compatible.

Year of publication:




The methods used adopt a human-factors approach and involve the study of human behaviour in given situations: review of scientific, regulatory and operational literature; a series of interviews; questionnaire-based surveys at four rest areas downstream of tunnels (620 interviews); analysis of video data; analysis of operational data; review of accident reports; compilation of personal accounts; implementation of a method for observing and raising questions about driving activity in tunnels.

Funding – Resources


PREDIT (National Land Transport Research and Innovation Programme) no. 02 MT 68 (Operational group no. 4)



Batch 1 of the ACTEURS project confirms that there is a real gap between the expectations of tunnel operators and the reality of tunnel users' abilities and limitations, including: a lack of knowledge concerning the tunnel's technical environment, rules, and required behaviour; many different beliefs and viewpoints regarding the way tunnels are operated and how to behave in tunnels; difficulties in perceiving and understanding the environment, infrastructure and safety equipment in place when driving through a tunnel; selective and inconsistent receptiveness among users to information provided; behaviour in crisis situations that is influenced by stress and other people's behaviour. A number of proposals were drawn up to improve interactions between tunnels, operators and users, by: defining more realistic safety strategies with regard to users; adapting the tunnel environment and information provided to users' actual capabilities and limitations; educating users about the specificities of tunnel safety; and checking that these measures to improve interactions are adapted to users (through feedback). Some of these recommendations are the subject of experiments in batch 2 of the project.


  • Name/Title : Frédéric Ricard
  • Organisation : ATMB
  • Address : 100 Avenue de Suffren – 75015 PARIS – France
  • Email : frederic.ricard@atmb.net
  • Contact at the Ministry : Laurent Ricci – MTETM / DRAST – laurent.ricci@equipement.gouv.fr

Additional information

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Partners: ATMB (Autoroutes et Tunnel du Mont-Blanc), AREA (Autoroutes Rhône-Alpes), SFTRF (Société Française pour le Tunnel Routier de Fréjus), Dédale SA, CETU (Centre d'Études des Tunnels)