A vision for the 21st century metro

20 August 2014  •  Author(s): Christian Galivel, RATP’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer in Charge of Projects, Engineering and Investments

Christian Galivel, RATP’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer in Charge of Projects, Engineering and Investments

Christian Galivel, RATP’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer in Charge of Projects, Engineering and Investments

Each day, RATP transports over five million passengers on its Paris region metro network along with 1.7 million passengers on its two, high-capacity, regional express train lines – RER A and RER B. The technical conditions to operate these lines are particularly demanding with train frequency at peak hours pushing the technical capacity of the latest systems to their limits. Passenger service and reception conditions in transport facilities that are, in parts, over 100 years old are also extremely demanding given the high flows of passengers carried by RATP. For Eurotransport, Christian Galivel – RATP’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer in Charge of Projects, Engineering and Investments, explains why RATP has deployed innovative approaches to organise and optimise various passenger movements in transport areas, ensure fluid access controls and provide modern services in its facilities such as 3G connectivity, LED lighting and high-quality multi-modal information.

RATP has developed the ability to adapt its organisation and network at all times to the most stringent service quality standards. 

The latest and perhaps the most striking example is without doubt the transformation of Paris network’s oldest metro line – metro line 1 – into a driverless line, which was achieved without major service interruption and without any compromises in passenger safety. Line 1, which was designed and built in the 19th century, offers its daily 750,000 passengers a service worthy of the 21st century. The full automation of line 1 resulted in a 7% increase in reliability at peak-times, which is now close to its 100% production target and with very short headway (95 seconds with the technical capacity to go as low as 85 seconds). The success of this experience prompted RATP in 2013 to pursue the challenge and launch studies to migrate line 4, the second busiest in Paris in terms of patronage, to driverless automation. 

Even so, improving service to passengers cannot solely rely on changing the train control system. RATP is also gradually renewing all metro rolling stock with the prime objective of improving passenger comfort (reducing noise and vibration experienced by passengers, introducing refrigerated ventilation, installation of audio and video passenger information), enhancing equipment and therefore operations reliability (significantly reducing mean time between failure rates), and in particular cutting down energy consumption whilst offering additional services. One example is the renewal of rolling stock on metro lines 2, 5 and 9, which will be replaced by next generation trains that will save the energy consumption of an entire metro line by 2017 despite adding new services on the trains such as refrigerated ventilation.

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