Un­manned metro to launch in 2017

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By DUJUAN and LIANG SHUANG Con­tact the writer at dujuan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Bei­jing plans to un­veil the coun­try’s first self-de­vel­oped fully au­to­matic sub­way next year, with the sched­uled open­ing of the Yan­fang Line.

The line con­nects Yan­shan, a suburb built around a petroleum and chem­i­cal en­ter­prise, to Fang­shan, where pas­sen­gers can trans­fer to trains bound for the cen­ter of Bei­jing.

Its op­er­at­ing sys­tem, which needs no driver or at­ten­dant, is cur­rently un­der­go­ing fac­tory test­ing, and is ex­pected to launch by De­cem­ber 2017.

The ben­e­fits of a fully au­to­mated sub­way sys­tem in­clude greater safety, bet­ter ef­fi­ciency and less work­load for the oper­a­tors. Such sys­tems are there­fore grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity world­wide.

“It’s the new trend in the field of ur­ban rail­way sys­tems,” said Wang Daomin, a deputy man­ager who works for the Bei­jing metro con­struc­tion ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“This will sig­nify that China has reached the in­ter­na­tional level in this field.”

Apart from the Yan­fang line, at least four other lines will use the fully au­to­matic sys­tem, Wang said.

Over the last 40 years, the growth rate for au­to­mated sub­ways has dou­bled with each pass­ing decade, ac­cord­ing a re­port is­sued by the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Public Trans­port.

It es­ti­mated that by 2020, three quar­ters of newly-built sub­way lines will be fully au­to­matic.

The in­tro­duc­tion of the tech­nol­ogy is just one of 140 projects that are be­ing spon­sored by Bei­jing’s trans­port au­thor­ity to bring added lev­els of con­ve­nience and in­crease safety.

One, called “Bei­jing re­al­time bus”, pro­vides real-time bus lo­ca­tions to smart­phone users, as well as the es­ti­mated time of ar­rival of a bus at a par­tic­u­lar stop.

Fac­tors like traf­fic jams and traf­fic lights are in­cluded in the al­go­rithms to pro­vide more ac­cu­rate pre­dic­tions. Bei­jing hopes to use sim­i­lar tech­nol­ogy with its net­work of public bi­cy­cles, taxis and park­ing lots.

“We ex­pect to launch an in­for­ma­tion net­work cov­er­ing the city’s 2,000 public bi­cy­cle sta­tions in the sec­ond half of this year,” said Zhang Guan­glian, deputy di­rec­tor of Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Science and Tech­nol­ogy Com­mis­sion.

Other in­no­va­tions unveiled at the news con­fer­ence in­cluded real-time di­ag­no­sis sys­tems for trains’ run­ning gear, light fire trucks and high-tech fire suits.

XIN­HUA XU YANG /

Staff work­ers with the CRRC Changchun Rail­way Vehicles Co test a sub­way train to be used in Bei­jing’s Yan­fang Line.

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