Automated Metros Observatory

A more detailed analysis at line level illustrates the wide range of situations and solutions covered by automated lines; be it in length, in number or density of stations. They point to the adaptability of automation as a system to respond to the characteristics of different cities’ transport needs.

This diversity of line typology is confirmed by the remarkably even significance of underground and elevated stations; although the number of exclusively underground lines is low, compared to that of fully elevated or mixed lines.

In terms of capacity, it is significant to point to UTO’s evolution: from the pioneering lines with mostly low capacity trains to the recent incorporation of high capacity trains. Currently the greatest percentage of lines run mid-capacity trains.

These points are illustrated in the figures below (click to enlarge).

UTO lines length (in km)

Stations per line

Worth noting: Some of the longest metro lines in the world are actually automated (contradicting a past assumption that automation was best suited for short lines), others are very short; whereas the average sits at 15km, a common value for conventional metro lines, particularly underground.

Line density; interstation distance (metres)

Worth noting: A line’s constructive model has a significant impact in many factors; in the case of UTO, it is particularly relevant to consider passenger evacuation procedures, particularly in tunnels.

Constructive models – elevated vs underground (# stations)

Worth noting: One of the main advantages of a UTO line is its capacity to offer increased frequencies. This allows the use of smaller trains running at higher frequencies, instead of larger trains at longer intervals. For passengers, this translates in a better level of service for the same capacity.

Line capacity: passengers per train (as a % of km)