Risk analysis using fault-tree analysis (FTA) and analytic hierarchy process (AHP) applicable to shield TBM tunnels

Ki Chang Hyun, Sangyoon Min, Hangseok Choi, Jeongjun Park, In Mo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, the potential risk of undesirable events occurring during tunneling with application of a shield tunnel boring machine (TBM) method is discussed along with the risk analysis which can systematically assess overall risk levels. Potential risks and typical scenarios pertaining to shield TBM tunnels have been investigated based on previous case histories and correspondence with experts. The relevant risks from undesirable events were categorized into four groups: cutter-related malfunction, machine blockage or hold-up, mucking problems that hinder transporting excavated materials, and segment defects. A fault-tree set was constructed by grouping risk factors (or causes) into geological, design and construction/management factors. Risk analysis was performed by adopting fault-tree analysis (FTA) and an analytic hierarchy process (AHP) with consideration of the probability and impact of the risks. In addition, the proposed method was reliably validated by comparison with field observation, and thus indicates its applicability to risk management for shield TBM tunneling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-129
Number of pages9
JournalTunnelling and Underground Space Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from (Program Number: 10 Technology Innovation-E09) Construction Technology Research Program funded by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of Korean government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Analytic hierarchy process (AHP)
  • Fault-tree analysis (FTA)
  • Risk analysis
  • Shield TBM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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