Urbanisation is a global trend. The spread of urbanisation increases the pressure for space on the surface, and useful space is used uneconomically or for high-emission activities. The third dimension, the underground, must be used more and with greater focus. Underground industrial solutions with automatic goods and passenger transport systems, high-security data centres, low-emission treatment plants, vibration-free precision production facilities, greenhouses with a stable climate, etc.
The target use of the underground space requires, however, that the relevant technical and economic parameters are evaluated carefully and closely coordinated so that the necessary technologies for the development are used.
The Gotthard Base Tunnel opened in 2016 is the longest railway tunnel in the world. The Swiss Center of Applied Underground Technologies (SCAUT), which was initiated on the day the tunnel was inaugurated, is the first-ever competency centre of its type and groups the know-how and the technology applied at the Gotthard Base tunnel, yet also of further innovative underground infrastructures, to make them available for various applications in the use of the underground space.