Underground and metro systems are experiencing a renaissance worldwide. A rapidly growing number of cities and metropolitan areas are discovering modern, high-performance metro systems as a sustainable and attractive answer to their chaotic traffic problems. Whether new construction, renewal or expansion of the existing systems, Bombardier Transportation has been a reliable and anticipating partner in convenient mobility solutions for decades, with more than 40 realized metro projects worldwide.
"Give your car a break” is the advertising motto, which the operator of the ultra-modern fully automatic metro line employs to motivate the citizens of Singapore to change. As in other metropolitan areas of Asia, daily commuter traffic has become a challenge for the booming economy. However, the government of the city-state determined earlier and more deliberately to invest billions in the transport system for modern public transport. The Downtown Line (DTL), opened in 2013, is an important milestone in the expansion. At the end of 2015, the 16-kilometer-long second section of the metro line was commissioned with another twelve new metro stations. “We want to make Singapore a safe, green ‘car-lite’ metropolis” said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the opening ceremony. This year, the third section of the important northwestern and eastern route is planned to be completed with further 21 kilometers and 16 stops: the DTL is the longest fully automated underground metro line in the world with a length of 42 km and projected to carry nearly half a million passengers per day when the line is fully operational. And Bombardier Transportation has made a significant contribution by providing 276 MOVIA metro cars.
The expansion of the metro system is still far from being complete. By 2030, according to the Prime Minister, Singapore will double the metro network to 360 kilometres: “Eight out of ten households will only have a ten-minute walk to the nearest metro station,” said Lee Hsien Loong. In the city state on the southern tip of the Malayan Peninsula, 5.5 million inhabitants are crowded on an area that is roughly equivalent to the German port city of Hamburg, which has less than half as many inhabitants. Despite the establishment of a toll system for private cars, Singapore’s individual transport still accounts for 41 percent of the traffic according to the Land Transport Authority. In the “car-lite” state, the aim is to reduce it to 30 percent by 2020, thanks to a public transport which has been expanded with considerable investments.
The traffic problems of Singapore are comparable to those of many mega-cities and metropolises. And now, all of them rely on metro systems as the backbone of mobility. Around 150 years after the opening of the first metro in London, the number of cities with metro systems has risen sharply since the 1960s and 1970s. According to calculations from the International Association of Public Transport UITP, there are around 150 cities with metro systems worldwide, and their number is growing every year. Experts estimate that the worldwide market will grow around ten percent per annum. In China alone, more than a dozen metro systems were constructed in recent decades. Before, the number of metro cities around the world had stagnated at a number of about 20 for almost a century. The reason is obvious: investments in underground or above-ground railway systems are not insignificant. But ongoing urbanization is increasingly leading to the realization that megacities and agglomerations can only be prevented from suffering a transportation collapse by means of efficient, high-quality and technically innovative railway systems. This is the only way to ensure smooth mobility and quality of life for the millions of inhabitants. Reliable and efficient public transport systems such as metros and suburban railways are increasingly essential for the economic performance of modern large cities.
In light of the high investment in the construction of tunnel or elevated railway infrastructure, economic, technical and operational requirements for metro systems are also on the increase. Thus, it is necessary to develop modular platform concepts and more cost-effective vehicle construction to increase energy efficiency and to reduce operating costs throughout the entire life cycle. As one of the leading suppliers of highly efficient metro systems, Bombardier has been meeting these requirements for years.
The MOVIA metro platform provides high-tech vehicles with a transport capacity of up to 160,000 passengers per hour and per direction. And this is achieved at a high level of comfort: air conditioning, spacious entry and exit areas, low noise levels in and outside the vehicle on its particularly quiet running FLEXX bogies. The vehicles, designed both in a stainless steel and aluminum lightweight version, are economical in terms of low energy consumption thanks to efficient drives and high braking energy recovery thanks to Bombardier’s MITRAC technology. Low operating costs are also ensured by well thought-out maintenance and services concepts. Flexible designs make it possible to adapt the interior design and seating arrangements to customer requirements.
The Swedish capital Stockholm has also set itself the goal of providing its population with an attractive quality of life and mobility without cars. Just like in Singapore, the traffic policy for Stockholm aims at reducing car traffic and traffic jams in the city centre. Car drivers are charged with tolls. At the same time, public transport services are being developed. Planners expect Stockholm to have about a quarter more inhabitants by 2030 than it has currently. Today, the traffic lanes can barely absorb the considerable commuter flows. If they were to continue to flow on the street, the width of many streets – according to a study conducted by the city of Stockholm – would have to be more than doubled to an unbelievable 45 metres. The alternative is to develop local public transport: 384 modern BOMBARDIER MOVIA C30 metro cars of the next generation are to come into operation on the existing “Red Line” over the next few years. They are currently under construction at Bombardier’s Hennigsdorf site near Berlin and commissioned in Sweden successively.
By placing a bulk order for another 162 modern MOVIA vehicles of the latest generation with Bombardier, the Indian capital of New Delhi is expanding its fleet of metro vehicles in by almost one-fifth, making it one of the largest fleets in the world. In recent years, Bombardier has provided over 600 cars of this modern vehicle type to the New Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. The previously used six-carriage configuration with a capacity of around 2,200 passengers can be extended to accommodate more than 3,000 passengers with the now planned addition of more capacious eight-car trains to the fleet. They are to be used on the two major metro lines.
Bombardier provided a total of 276 fully automated MOVIA metro vehicles of the latest generation for the Downtown Line (DTL). A part of the fleet has already been in service on the first section since the end of 2013 and on the second section of the DTL since the end of 2015. The test running of the remaining vehicles on the entire 42-kilometre line will be completed this year. 70 metres long three-car trains are operating in unmanned operation at a top speed of 80 km/h. It is the longest fully automated underground metro line in the world and is projected to transport more than half a million passengers per day when the line is fully operational. The driverless Bombardier metros are designed to operate safely within a 100 second headway on the DTL alignment.
In North America, Bombardier is also significantly involved in fleet renewal. For the Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART) in San Francisco, 775 modern vehicles of the MOVIA generation were purchased as replacements. The metro in Chicago is receiving over 700 new vehicles, replacing a 30-year-old predecessor generation. A modern metro future is starting in Canada as well: the Toronto metro, known as the “Toronto Rocket”, ordered 420 cars for 70 six-car trains from Bombardier
In the British capital, Bombardier is a partner for the comprehensive renewal of the world’s oldest metro system. A total of over 1,770 vehicles have been ordered and delivered since the beginning of the decade for the Victoria Line and the various “sub-surface” lines.