Automated metros are enjoying exponential global growth and infrastructure length has increased by 17% since 2014, shows a new study carried out by UITP, the International Association of Public Transport.
Automated metros are a proven solution for cities globally: there are now 53 fully automated lines around the world in 36 cities operating a total of 789km, a 17% increase in km compared to 2014.
Asia is the world’s leading automation region with 42% of km of infrastructure, followed by Europe (34%) and North America (13%), which was one of the pioneering regions in automation. In the last decade, Latin America and the Middle East have developed automated lines with the latter showing strong growth.
Half of the world’s fully automated metro infrastructure is to be found in four countries: France,South Korea, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. At the city level, the ranking is led by three non-European cities: Singapore (82km), Dubai (80km) and Vancouver (68km).
In the 40 years since the first automated lines, the growth rate has doubled each decade and is set to quadruple in the coming decade: by 2025, there will be an estimated 2,200km of automated metro infrastructure in operation.
In 2025, Asia, Europe and the Middle East will represent 32%, 31% and 24% respectively of total automated infrastructure. China announced the opening of its first fully automated line for the end of 2017 – a significant move that could mean even higher growth if China embraces automation for its many growing systems.
“Full automation offers a step change opportunity for metro systems and for more sustainable urban mobility,” said Ramón Malla, Chairman of the UITP Observatory of Automated Metros and Director of Automated Metro at TMB Barcelona. “The current exponential growth trend confirms that authorities and operators around the world are increasingly ready to take the leap towards this new reference point in metro service and operations”.