The critical ventilation velocity is almost the most well-investigated fire phenomenon in the tunnel fire research field whereas previous studies have always investigated it when the fire source is distant from the downstream tunnel exit. Fortunately, a recent study provided a set of data on the critical ventilation velocity for tunnel fires occurring near tunnel exits by small-scaled experiments, nevertheless, with a lack of further analysis. To demonstrate the relationship of the critical ventilation velocity and the distance between the fire and tunnel exit more explicitly and detailedly, a quantitative and graphical study was carried out and a correlation was presented in this paper. Inspired by this, a set of small-scaled experiments were carried out to investigate the influence of different longitudinal fire locations on maximum smoke temperature under the tunnel ceiling. Results show that unlike the critical ventilation velocity, the maximum smoke temperature was not obviously affected by longitudinal fire location. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.