The Helsinki Metro will soon operate without drivers
Helsinki City Transport will modernize the Helsinki Metro by switching to an automatic controller system. At the same time, the transport control and signal boxes will be replaced plus their utilization control system, which due to ageing will have to be replaced in any case. Some of the existing equipment originates from the 1970s, and their maintenance has increasingly become difficult, due to among other things, the shortage of spare parts.
With the new system, the trains will run fully automatically, without drivers. Traffic controllers will monitor the metro traffic from a control room and manually guide the operation of the system.
Siemens, who will provide the automation system, have experience in many similar projects around the world. The Helsinki metro is expected to will be able to run automatically by the end of 2013.
The Western Metro Extension, which will be constructed over the next few years, will also belong within the automation sphere. The new section of track between Ruoholahti and Matinkylä will operate automatically immediately from its commencement.
Security will be further improved
The automated system will make the already very safe metro increasingly safer. Among other things, the current, point-by-point access control will be replaced by a continuous access control, which will continuously monitor operations without breaks, such as the correct situation speeds of the trains for example.
The new system will eliminate the possibility of human errors, whilst also being able to respond to many exceptional situations quicker than people.
The automatic metro will also introduce additional security reforms. The number of mobile staff among the passengers will be increased in both the stations and the trains, and fire detection devices will be located in both the metro tunnels and the trains.
All the train carriages will be equipped with recording surveillance cameras, whose images may be also viewed in real time from the control room. The safety of the stations will be improved at the platform doors.
All of the critical operations of the automatic metro will be constructed as fail-safe. This means that the running of the trains requires the smooth functioning of the system, otherwise the relevant train will be stopped and the situation will be clarified.
Increases in the frequency of the traffic will improve service
The automatic system permits safer and smoother transportation of the trains with an increase in the frequency of the traffic. Initially, the frequency of the trains will involve intervals of 2.5-minutes, but technically, it is possible to run the trains at intervals of 90 seconds.
For passengers, the shorter intervals between the trains will result in shorter waiting times, and hence also quicker travel times. The service levels will particularly improve on the Mellunmäki and Vuosaari branches, which will in the future be able to operate every 5 minutes.
Increased traffic will also allow the running of trains that are shorter than at the present time. This in turn is an advantage in the construction of newer metro tracks, as the new stations can correspondingly be built shorter.
By clicking on the links on the right, you will be able to acquaint yourself with the technology and transportation of the automatic metro and the progress of the project.