MTI Report WP 12-09

Research Report Trend Analysis of Long Tunnels Worldwide (PDF 1.2MB)

Principal Investigator: Jae-Ho Pyeon, Ph.D.


High-speed rail construction projects have frequently required long tunnels to reduce travel time and distance. The California High-Speed Rail (CHSR) authority is considering a tunnel up to 16 miles long for a direct route from Palmdale to Burbank. With advances in tunneling technology, the many long tunnels in use around the world today hold valuable lessons for CHSR, particularly with respect to minimization of ground disturbance and improved passenger and operator safety. The primary objective of this project is to determine the state of the art for construction and operation of long tunnels used for high-speed rail. With an abundance of long tunnels successfully completed and already in use around the globe, an examination of those projects can provide the State with the benefit of their experience at little cost.

The research began with a review of the literature on long tunnels around the world, with a focus on characteristics and the research team constructed a detailed database of information on the projects behind the world’s long tunnels. Based on the data, this report presents data on 67 tunnels longer than 4.5 miles, including 32 high-speed railway tunnels, located in 28 countries around the world. The research team analyzed the data to determine the factors that should be considered in planning long tunnels for HSR projects. Analysis results were documented in a systematic manner to compare with potential tunnels for the Palmdale-to-Burbank segment of the California HSR system. It is hoped that the trends identified from the aggregate data will help inform decisions for the tunnel projects being considered for the Palmdale-to-Burbank segment of California High-Speed Rail.


Jae-Ho Pyeon, Ph.D.

Jae-Ho Pyeon, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at San José State University. Dr. Pyeon received both his master’s and doctoral degrees in Civil and Coastal Engineering from the University of Florida. Currently, Dr. Pyeon is a University Representative of the Transportation Research Board and a member of the Construction Research Council, Construction Institute, and American Society of Civil Engineers. Dr. Pyeon conducts research in the area of transportation construction engineering and management and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in construction project management, construction information technology, construction scheduling and estimating, and heavy transportation construction equipment.

Dr. Pyeon has published 22 peer-reviewed journal or conference papers over the last five years. His research interests include seeking efficient ways to improve the highway construction planning and process, assessing uncertainty in construction, and developing decision support systems to assist project planners and managers. Specific research areas are transportation construction project delivery systems, work zone road user cost, transportation management plans, project risk management, and innovative contracting methods, such as incentives/disincentives, No Excuse Bonus, and A+B.

Dr. Pyeon has successfully performed several federal- and/or state-funded transportation construction research projects, including Improving Transportation Construction Project Performance: Development of a Model to Support the Decision-Making Process for Incentive/Disincentive Construction Projects; Evaluation of Alternative Contracting Techniques on FDOT Construction Projects; Improving the Time Performance of Highway Construction Contracts; Development of Improved Procedures for Managing Pavement Markings During Highway Construction Projects; and Development of Procedures for Utilizing Pit Proctors in the Construction Process for Pavement Base Materials. He also serves as an external reviewer of FHWA’s Work Zone Road User Cost research project and as an active reviewer of several major journals in the area of construction engineering and management.


Authors: Jae-Ho Pyeon, Ph.D.
Published: March 2016
Keywords: Long Tunnel, TBM, Tunneling Method, High Speed Rail, Trend Analysis