Developments during the 20th century have shown that it is technically and economically feasible to operate high-capacity driverless trains on metros. The experience of the last 15 years shows that they are safe, and that it is time to move on to the next stage. This article gives a brief history of automatic train operation (ATO) on metros, reports on some plans to convert existing metros to ATO, and outlines the case for automation. ATO trials were first conducted during the early 1960s, and London Underground's Victoria Line was the first ATO line to enter commercial service, in 1968, but it still has staff on board its trains. Most driverless train systems operate in a protected environment, such as major airports, but Japan has several of significant length and passenger volume. The article discusses seven driverless systems that are metros, four of which are in France, and one each in Canada, Malaysia, and Taiwan. Several metro administrations, including those in Berlin and Paris, plan to convert existing lines to driverless operation. Driverless trains can be added rapidly during peak periods to handle surges in passenger demand. It is often difficult to convince rail safety regulators that they are safe, but several systems have platform screen doors to prevent accidents to passengers in stations.

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    Reed Business Information, Limited

    Quadrant House, The Quadrant
    Brighton Road
    Sutton, Surrey  United Kingdom  SM2 5AS
  • Authors:
    • FISHER, I
  • Publication Date: 2000-3


  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00793053
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: May 31 2000 12:00AM