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Tunnels & Metro


The construction of longer and increasingly complex transport systems, specifically tunnels and stations, and the rapid changes in processes, materials and technology mean it is more important than ever to apply correct methodologies and analysis methods to these kind of projects.

Our end goal is to develop a design that is acceptable from all stakeholders point of view but at the same time is cost efficient and safe; in short it should prevent unacceptable risk by introducing sound and reliable design solutions.

There is no doubt about that fires in these types of environments have the potential to be very serious and the best way to mitigate this is to incorporate a holistic design approach where fire safety forms a vital part.

To be able to maximize the client outcomes for these kind of projects, we have established a strategic partnership with the Italian based company CANTene.

In this way we are able to provide a wide range of specialist services, all of which are necessary to deliver a state-of-the-art project when it comes to complex infrastructure projects.

Together we provide the top-end service necessary to every stage of the project, from inception to completion and after. JVVA CANTene aims to help their clients meet their business needs by adding value through personal service and technical excellence.

JVVA CANTene has experience from some of the most complex tunnels projects done in recent years. We have in-depth knowledge when it comes to Tunnel Fire Safety.

We have extensive experience of providing Tunnel Safety Engineering in large infrastructure projects dealing with straight motorway tunnels to large multidisciplinary metro systems where a holistic fire safety approach and multi scale 1D-3D ventilation modelling is required.

The following list shows a number of interesting projects where our staff has had a significant involvement.

AVO Santiago de Chile
Metro de Chile
High Speed Train Spain
Marieholm Gothenburg
Torino Porta Susa
Cityringen Copenhagen
Roma Metro
Gran San Bernardo
Parma Subway Station
Milano ring
  • Design of the ventilation system including comfort and emergency for 2 road tunnels of approximately 6km in the municipality of Santiago, Chile. The analysis includes 1D SES modelling and CFD modelling.

  • Preliminary design evaluation for the proposed design of the ventilation system for line 3 and 6. The services included both comfort and emergency mode using 1D and 3D CFD simulations..

  • Ventilation strategy for a new rail tunnel using advanced simulation techniques in conjunction with state of the art gas dispersion modelling.

  • Immersed tunnel in Gothenburg, Sweden. Evaluation of the Fire safety concept and specifically the design foreseen for the different fire safety systems, including the design of the foam protection system.

  • Interchange Station – Porta Susa: Advanced Fire/Smoke & Evacuation modeling for a large interchange station, an ASET vs RSET analysis was performed. Verification of the efficiency of fire protection strategy (emergency ventilation) through a multi-scale approach.ling.

  • TVS design and Fire Engineering analysis through multi-scale approach.

  • Verification of the efficiency of fire protection strategy (emergency ventilation) through a multi-scale approach.

  • Tunnel ventilation design through 1D analysis.

  • Detailed design for Electrical, Ventilation, Fire Fighting, and Control Plants

  • Verification of the efficiency of fire protection strategy through a CFD 3D analysis.

The provision of adequate ventilation is a key factor in the design of complex transport systemsroad tunnels and rail tunnels. In general different criteria apply to different modes of operation; all the criteria for all the operational modes must be satisfied for the design to be acceptable. Fundamentally, the system has to control smoke propagation, provide a smoke-free evacuation path during a fire emergency and remove heat/emission generated by operation. All this in such a way that the equipment’s life expectancy is not diminished and very importantly a suitable environment for passengers and maintenance personnel is provided.

While the direct cost of the ventilation equipment is small, the costs and constraints associated with ducting, plant rooms and ventilation shafts are considerable and can have a significant impact on a project. This is particularly true for longer tunnel options, where the ventilation requirements are more onerous.

Therefore a sound and viable ventilation design is of utter importance.

For mass transit systems we develop solutions that deal with the normally difficult tunnel ventilation and cooling issues associated with urban metro systems. We provide advice on the most economical arrangement of ventilation shafts while keeping the main objectives of the ventilation system in mind.

Regarding the stations we provide reliable and efficient smoke management and evacuation strategies; we would also advice on effective environmental control solutions including under/over-platform extract, platform screen doors and local (spot) air-conditioning.

For road tunnels we have developed all types of ventilation systems, including, transverse, semi-transverse, longitudinal and natural ventilation. We have a detailed knowledge of the different international standards relating to road tunnel ventilation (e.g. NFPA, RABT and PIARC). We would also take local features, which may have an important bearing on the relevance of these standards, into account. This could for example be a high proportion of high-emission vehicles or the danger of a particularly large potential fire load (a very severe fire scenario).
We use state of the art simulation tools. For one-dimensional analysis, depending on the complexity and purpose of the same, we use SES (Subway Environmental Simulation) and/or Whitesmoke (Software developed by CANTene), both are powerful modelling tools for numerical analysis of the aero-thermodynamic environment in subway transit networks.

It provides an overall view of airflow, temperature, and humidity under all modes of train operation, as well as cooling requirements for the tunnel. For locations with a complex geometry CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) is used, specifically where airflow behavior is complicated and deemed to be three-dimensional. CFD enables the analysis of fluids in a 3-D domain, including heat transfer, mass transfer, and chemical reaction.


Fires occuring in tunnels or stations are very different from other types of fires; their consequences can be larger due to their situation (underground). There are several problems that are directly related to the nature of the space.

The smoke and heat produced by the fire could affect a great part of the tunnel or the station; this will have consequences for the evacuation  and also for the firefighting operations. The main issue is normally the production of smoke and its possibility to spread , for complex systems the smoke strategy is very important.

For large interchange/transfer stations the evacuation strategy tends to be very complex with several levels working together, in some cases there might be several types of transportation systems within the same building (bus, rail, metro). For the majority of the cases it is necessary to understand the people movement both from a pedestrian planning point of view and from an emergency movement point of view.

For stations the compartmentation strategy is generally an important issue, a normal approach is to use virtual compartmentation (due to construction practicability and architectural design restraints) and in that way keep clear views, smooth people flows and large open spaces.

Specifically for road tunnels an active measure, with different views around the world regarding the feasibility, is the use of suppression systems. A suppression system normally has a significant impact on the fire size and heat release rate but also on the behaviour of the smoke produced.


Velázquez 157 – 28002 Madrid – Spain

Via Marco Polo n° 24 – 10129 Torino – Italy