The general objective of the ECOROADS project is to overcome the barrier established by the formal interpretation of the two Directives 2008/96/EC (on road infrastructure safety management) and 2004/54/EC (on tunnels), that in practice do not allow the same Road Safety Audits/Inspections described in the first Directive to be performed inside tunnels, ruled by the second one only. This implies that, while from the user (driver) point of view a road is a unique linear infrastructure generally in open terrain and sometimes in closed environment (tunnels), the strict application of the two Directives leads to a non-uniform approach to the infrastructure safety management outside and inside tunnels.
The ECOROADS projects is establishing a common enhanced approach to road infrastructure and tunnel safety management by using the concepts and criteria of the Directive 2008/96/CE on road infrastructure safety management and the results of related European Commission (EC) funded projects. The direct involvement of different public and private stakeholders through dedicated workshops, discussion and exchange of best practices between European tunnel experts and road safety professionals are leading to common agreed procedures that will be tested in five European road sections which feature both open roads and tunnels.
The outcome of the project will be a set of commonly agreed recommendations and guidelines for a coherent application of safety procedures on the whole road network, both at the Member State and EU level, providing a valuable input to the work of the EC and the possible future revision of one or both Directives. ECOROADS started on June 2015and is now approaching the first phase of the field visits, after having defined the procedures for the joint operations involving road and tunnel safety experts. This paper explains the basic concept and the criteria adopted for the test sites, together with the common approach agreed by the international stakeholders concerned.