Fire Evacuation in Underground Transportation Systems: A Review of Accidents and Empirical Research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Previous fire accidents have shown that fires in underground transportation systems, e.g., tunnels and underground stations, can cause many fatalities. It is therefore important in fire safety design to give adequate consideration to all aspects related to evacuation. The main purpose of this paper is to provide guidance to engineers involved in the design of underground transportation systems, and to create a basis for future research in the area. A review of previously reported fire accidents and of empirical research is performed. The review of accidents is based on a theoretical framework, namely four accepted human behaviour theories, which can be used in the fire safety design of underground transportation systems. Factors important for fire evacuation in these types of facilities are also presented, and data related to these factors are summarised. The review reveals many potential solutions to commonly observed evacuation problems, but it also shows that there is room for further future research in the area.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Building Technologies
  • Other Civil Engineering


  • Underground transportation systems, Rail tunnels, Road tunnels, Underground stations, Fire, Human behavior, Evacuation, Egress, Fire safety design, Experiment, Empirical research, Behaviour sequences, Role-rule model, Affiliative model, Social influence
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-475
JournalFire Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch