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Risk management for the transport of hazardous materials in urban environments : development of recommendations and methodological tools


Over the last 15 years, local and regional management of the risks involved in the transport of hazardous materials (THM), as recommended by the Transport of Hazardous Materials Commission in a strategy developed in the early 1990s, has experienced significant difficulties in terms of implementation. Following on from a piece of research analysing the reasons for this, the aim of this project was to identify possible ways of overcoming these difficulties and produce a report on how the transport of hazardous materials is managed at a local and regional level.

Année d'élaboration :



The work consisted of organising seven workshops involving representatives from central government departments, local authorities, specialist associations and scientific organisations involved in this area, plus additional documentary research. The areas studied were, essentially, the conurbations of Le Havre and Dunkirk and the Ile-de-France, PACA (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) and Rhône-Alpes regions, with some reference to the Netherlands.

Financement - Ressources

PREDIT working group no. 3


19 methods and experiments sheets were produced, covering:

- Traffic evaluations (PACA, industrial and port area in Dunkirk).

- Automatic identification and recognition of THM plates on the roadway.

- Assessment of vulnerability and risks on a given journey or site (EQR THM, ARAMIS, etc.) across the whole of the logistics chain (GLOBAL project) and in a particular area (Loire and Ile-de-France departments).

- Assessment of impact of fuel depot closures in the Ile-de-France region.

- Development of traffic plans and design of a parking area in the Lyon conurbation.

- Taking account of THM in Community Safeguard Plans.

- Overall approaches in the conurbations of Lyon and Le Havre and several towns in the PACA region.

- The approach to THM risk in the Netherlands

A number of recommendations were produced:

- An overall approach is desirable at three levels (region, department and conurbation). Its aim should be to control risk by facilitating the actions of professionals and ensuring these are protected, rather than constraining them through ill-conceived and ineffective prohibitions. Room for manoeuvre is often limited; although actions may be wide-ranging in terms of their point of view, they must be pragmatic and firmly based in reality.

- In order to foster the implementation of such approaches where the situation requires it, it needs to be possible to rely on key players and organisations (prefectures, DDE, DRIRE, inter-municipal authorities etc.). It is desirable to combine both bottom-up (feedback and sharing of experiences) and top-down (incentives and availability of data and methodologies) approaches at a local, regional and national level.

- In terms of assessing traffic flows and the resulting risk, it is important to adjust objectives and methods to the practices and actions it is felt it will be possible to implement, rather than launching into cumbersome methods. Studies must be designed as a real aid to collective thinking and decision-making, which involves making a judgment between adapting to the local context and taking account of harmonisation and comparability at a national level.

- In terms of route and mode selection and traffic organisation, it is desirable to think in terms of facilitating rather than prohibiting and to focus on simple, pragmatic approaches. Taking account of THM in urban transport plans (PDU) is a way of enhancing the visibility of this question.

- In terms of planning and development/management of a given area, it is desirable to identify and embark on a process to improve the safety of accident-causing roads and infrastructure and significant levels of traffic. The vexed question of parking needs to be monitored carefully. It is desirable to incorporate THM in planning and development decisions, in particular by taking it into account in urban planning and development documents.

- In terms of accident management planning, it important to foster coordination between those involved in prevention and crisis management, in particular by: sharing information, regular drills and effective feedback processes. It is desirable to ensure THM is taken into account in Community Safeguard Plans, in particular by providing municipalities with information on traffic flows and the associated risks.

- The level of information and training provided to local stakeholders is currently low. It is important to ensure that THM is properly taken into account in the DDRM (Departmental Dossier on Major Risks) and DICRIM (Municipal Information Document on Major Risks) and to make use of local organisations such as the SPPPI (Secretariat for the Prevention of Industrial Pollution) and CLIC (Local Information and Consultation Committees).


  • Nom/Titre : Philippe Blancher and Sandrine Maillet
  • Organisme : Asconit Consultants and the Centre international de ressource et d'innovation sur le développement durable (CIRIDD) respectively
  • Email : philippe.blancher@asconit.com and sandrine.maillet@ciridd.org

Informations complémentaires

Sources : - Articles presenting the project (or similar projects)