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RISE organises biennially ISTSS.

It all started after SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden (now RISE) decided to present the test results from the Runehamar tunnel on a symposium in Borås in November 2003. The name of that symposium was the International Symposium on Catastrophic Tunnel Fires. The international interest for this event forced us to change venues to accommodate the unexpected number of delegates and the symposium itself was very successful with well over 200 delegates.

The results presented at this symposium were so interesting and the need for continued dialogue so pressing that we were urged to arrange a new symposium, at a new location  where we knew that there would be a great interest in the results.

Due to SP’s longstanding collaboration with the National Infrastructure Institute’s Centre for Infrastructure Expertise, NI2-CIE, in USA, the venue for the new symposium was chosen in the US in November 2004 in close collaboration with NI2. This became the 1st International Symposium on Tunnel Safety and Security (ISTSS), thereby broadening the scope from fire issues to safety and security.

Safety and Security have been high on the scientific agenda for decades, no more so than after the tragic attacks of nine-eleven in New York. The success of the International Symposium on Tunnel Safety and Security (ISTSS) is a tribute to the pressing need for continued international research and dialogue on these issues, perhaps in particular connected to complex infrastructure such as tunnels and tunnel networks. At SP, we are very proud to have been able to establish a regular ISTSS tunnel symposium that normally attracts over 200 delegates from all parts of the world.

The focus has mainly been on fires and safety in tunnels, but it is shifting more and more towards security including also other underground spaces such as garages, metros and caverns. The new terrorist threats and focus on how to solve these problems is increasing. The need for expertise in this area for underground infrastructure in general is continuously increasing. We urge scientists and practicing engineers in this field to consider ISTSS as good quality forum for presenting their results. The aim is to make ISTSS as a natural forum for scientists and practicing engineers to exchange information in the future.