A driverless decision for Milan’s metro Line 5

20 August 2014  •  Author(s): Carlo Bianco, Operations Director for Automatic Metro Lines at ATM

Carlo Bianco, Operations Director for Automatic Metro Lines at ATM

Carlo Bianco, Operations Director for Automatic Metro Lines at ATM

The first two sections of Milan’s first fully-automated driverless metro line (Line 5) are now operational. Carlo Bianco – Operations Director for Automatic Metro Lines at ATM – explains the reasons behind going driverless, the technology operating the trains and safeguarding passengers, plus future line expansion details.

Established in 1931, the ATM Group (Azienda Trasporti Milanesi) manages the public transport network in Milan, serving an area with a population of 2.6 million people. With 760 million annual passengers, covering 170 million kilometres per year and with approximately 9,300 employees, ATM represents 10% of the local public transport in Italy. 

ATM operates a wide range of different transport services: four metro lines with 941 vehicles; 19 tramway lines with 553 trams; 120 bus lines with 1,434 buses; and four trolleybus lines with 164 vehicles. Furthermore, ATM manages 21 interchange parking spaces (SostaMilano), the car sharing system (GuidaMi), the bike sharing system (BikeMi) and the Como-Brunate funicular railway near Lake Como. ATM is also present on an international scale: the ATM Group, through the subsidiary company ‘Metro Service A/S’(a joint venture owned 51% by ATM SpA and 49% by Ansaldo STS), has, since 2008, managed the Copenhagen driverless metro – one of the first European fully-automated metro systems. This Metro, serving the Danish capital, originally opened in 2002 and now runs along two lines with 22 stations. 

In 2013, in collaboration with ‘Metro 5 SpA’ – the Concessionary company for the design, construction and operation of the metro Line 5 in Milan – and Metropolitana Milanese – the Engineering company of the Municipality of Milan, in charge of the project supervision – ATM inaugurated Line 5, the first fully-automated driverless metro line in Milan, called the ‘Lilla Line’ for its characteristic lilac colour. Line 5 is the first example of project financing for metros in Italy: the new line was designed and constructed by the consortium Metro 5 SpA, which has appointed ATM for the operations and maintenance of the line for 29 years.

The impact of a new driverless line has long since been very clear among ATM’s management. For this reason the strategic decision to ‘emigrate’ to Denmark to operate the Copenhagen Metro was taken. This line, based on the same technology as Line 5, has permitted to ATM managers and technicians to gain familiarity with driverless operations and its technology.

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