The next STUVA Conference will be held from December 6 to 8, 2011 (the General Assembly and Executive Council session, which are not open to the public, will take place on December 5) at the Berlin Fairgrounds under the overall motto Underground Construction for Sustainable Environmental and Climate Protection (Fig. 1). Some 1,500 tunnelling experts from throughout the world are expected to attend.
The call for papers was sent to STUVA members in December 2010 and at the end of March 2011 the selection committee, which constitutes members of STUVA’s Executive Council and Advisory Board as well as external experts, came together to decide on the conference programme. The call for papers for a “Young Forum” introduced for the first time this year within the scope of a “regular STUVA Conference”, received a good response. The complete programme will be published in one of the forthcoming issues of tunnel. At the end of May, 2011 the printed programme will be dispatched to all the participants of past STUVA conferences and further interested parties. However it is possible to register for the Conference as from the end of April 2011 by accessing www.stuva.de.
The exhibition accompanying the Conference received a great response early on in 2011. At the time of going to press around 1,200 m² of net exhibition area had been taken. Interested companies should get in touch with STUVA headquarters as soon as possible to seize the chance to display their products to a knowledgeable public. The combination of papers and direct access to the around 130 partners at the exhibition involved in the planning, construction and operation of tunnels has proved itself. It was decided to renounce any increase in the price per square metre this year. A new, upgraded variation will be offered this year in addition to the well-known standard stand for company presentation.
The gala evening on the first day of the Conference and the excursions to interesting destinations within Greater Berlin on the third day round off the event.
Research Project UpSafety: Virtual and real Training of multi-disciplinary Emergency Forces
The STUVA has been involved in the “UpSafety” project since October 2009. The project aims at improving the rescue and civil protection measures applied in underground facilities. It is sponsored by the European Union within the scope of its “Civil Protection, Prevention and Preparedness” programme. Towards this end training programmes are developed for all those deployed in road tunnels, Metro networks and underground parking facilities. In addition to the STUVA 5 further partners are involved in the research project – from the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain: Province Zeeland (NL) as project coordinator, Falk AVD (NL). Amberg Infraestucturas SA (E), Westerschelde Tunnel (NL) and the Gent Fire Service (B).
Based on its many years of experience in the sphere of safety in underground mass transit facilities the STUVA took charge of the part-section “Underground rail systems”.
In the event of an accident especially given the considerably more serious conditions prevailing in underground facilities, concerted intervention on the part of the emergency services involved, i.e. fire service, medical emergency service, the operator’s control centre, service personnel, police and representatives of the authorities, is of decisive importance. A multidisciplinary approach is required in order to coordinate the activities of all those involved. Training has to be provided under realistic conditions for all those involved to ensure perfect collaboration when it matters.
So-called ETE programmes (Education-Training-Exercise) for deployment in road tunnels, Metro railway stations and underground parking facilities have been developed for the UpSafety project taking all those services involved during emergencies into consideration. The training concept is set out in three stages consisting of the essential elements education, training and subsequent practical exercises. Software as a virtual reality tool has been developed to support the theoretical training within the scope of the UpSafety project. This application facilitates a realistic simulation of multi-disciplinary operations in underground facilities. The effect of learning, which has hitherto only been attained in practical exercises, can in this way at least be partially achieved on the theoretical education section. Consequently the costs for extensive practical exercises can then be reduced.
On March 2 and 3, 2011 the concepts developed so far were subjected to an initial practical test in the Hagerbach Test Gallery (Flums, CH) attended by some 30 experts from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Romania and Switzerland. Emergency forces responsible in practice for road tunnels, Metro railway stations and parking facilities from fields such as the fire services, emergency services, the police and from the side of the operators took part in multi-disciplinary training.
Following introductory instruction cooperation between the various disciplines was practised with the aid of the developed virtual reality tool (VR Tool) employing various scenarios such as e.g. a Metro train on fire in a station or cars and lorries on fire after a mass pile-up in a road tunnel. Generally the developed VR Tool enabled all those emergency forces taking part to move freely in virtual reality in order to investigate the scenario. In this respect the software provided all those taking part in the exercises a comprehensive insight into current activities and in turn a joint platform for the necessary rescue measures (Fig. 2).
To follow up the joint virtual training unit an operation under real fire conditions took place in the Test Gallery. In this connection fire service units from various nations practised together. For example evacuating persons and extinguishing fires in a road tunnel, in which numerous cars were blazing, were executed as a scenario (Fig. 3).
On June 29, 2011 the developed ETE concepts will once again be applied involving the above-mentioned experts at a multi-disciplinary training event. Subsequently the results of the research project will be presented to a circle of specialists and the general public within the scope of a closing conference on June 30.
A number of new aspects have resulted from evaluating the practical test carried out for the ETE concepts developed so far, which will be incorporated in the ETE concepts and the software development until the end of the project in October 2011. For instance evaluating the practical test has revealed that the training scenarios that have been created, supported by the virtual-reality application, represent good augmentation throughout Europe of the practical exercises methods utilised so far.
Further details on the UpSafety project can be accessed on the Internet under www.upsafety.eu.
Flower Power along the Track – new Network for Greening the Rail Track with STUVA Involvement
On January 28, 2011 the Green Track Network was established wi thin the premises of the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG). The network’s aim is to initiate the development of innovative system solutions for vegetation systems and suitable superstructural forms for urban rail tracks and to optimise vegetation systems for existing superstructural forms. These structural forms are to bring about reduced emissions with regard to noise, vibration and act to reduce immissions with respect to toxic substance and thus create solutions for built-up areas internationally (Fig. 4).
The intention is to provide functioning vegetation systems as well as system components, which need as little care as possible, assure the safe development of vegetation and facilitate easy access to the track for maintenance purposes. The complexity of the planned approach calls for the integration of various technologies and scientific disciplines.
Currently 15 network partners from the fields of planning, the production of systems and components, installation, maintenance, immission protection and vegetation, are involved. Three transportation companies, 9 companies as well as 3 research institutes are taking part.
The network is sponsored by the BMWi ZIM programme. The network manager is the Verein zur Förderung agrar- und stadtökologischer Projekte e.V. (A.S.P.). Further details are available under http://www.iasp.asp-berlin.de/iasp037.html or from the STUVA office.
Seminar on Protection against Vibrations and secondary Noise Immissions on Railways
Chaired by and under the active participation of Dr. Friedrich Krüger, STUVA, the Technical Academy Esslingen is staging a seminar on “Protection against Vibrations and secondary Noise Immissions on Railways”. To an increasing degree measures have to be embarked on to reduce vibration immissions – and as a follow-up to this – secondary noise immissions from surface and underground rail traffic in order to protect the population. The seminar deals with the overall complex of the creation, spread and reduction as well as measuring, evaluating and forecasting of vibrations and secondary noise. The seminar will provide concrete possibilities for investigating and solving these problems faced by rail traffic. The seminar is scheduled on May 12 and 13, 2011 in Ostfildern-Nellingen and is targeted at managers and staff members from companies, planning offices and authorities, which are concerned with noise and vibration protection issues. Further details are available online at www.tae.de.