Mar 7, 2023 - News
Metro plans return to automatic trains
Metro plans to return to automatic train operation, which means train operators will no longer be responsible for driving, starting, stopping, or opening doors.
- Operators will still have to close train doors and respond to any emergencies.
Why it matters: The agency says returning to ATO will make riders’ lives better.
- It’ll improve safety by reducing the chance of human errors such as running red lights, overshooting platforms, and moving without permission.
- Rides will be smoother. Trains would be programmed to stop at an exact location, preventing jerky start/stop movements.
- It’ll save money by cutting down on power usage thanks to automatically timed stops and starts.
Catch up quick: Metro was designed to operate with ATO and had been using it since its start in 1976.
- But, the system was suspended after a fatal crash in 2009. An investigation found that the cause of the accident was not the ATO system, but it wasn’t reimplemented in part because of a need for infrastructure updates.
Worth noting: Most large rail systems across the country are automated.
What’s next: Metro will start testing ATO on the Red Line as early as this May if it gets approval from its regulator. The agency plans to roll out ATO system-wide by December.
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