Mode boundaries of automated metro and semi-rapid rail in urban transit

Luigi Moccia, Duncan W. Allen, Gilbert Laporte, Andrea Spinosa

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Our research question is to what extent, and under what circumstances, full automation in metro lines defines transit mode boundaries with respect to semi-rapid transit. The modeling approach is based on micro-economic appraisal. Automation, beside changing the investment and operation and maintenance cost profiles of metro lines, can improve some aspects of the user experience. The low marginal cost of frequency possible with automated metro may unlock both users’ benefits via reduced waiting times and crowding, and operator’s savings via shorter trains and smaller platforms and stations. We show how the user’s travel time components are structurally different under several configurations. In particular, we highlight the critical role that different demand and alignment patterns play in the mode comparison.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739-802
JournalPublic Transport
Early online date8 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Luigi Moccia was partly supported by CNR (Italy) under project “Sequence/Stream Analytics and Process Intelligence”. Gilbert Laporte was funded by the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council under grant 2015-06189. These supports are gratefully acknowledged. Luigi Moccia and Duncan W. Allen thank Eric C. Bruun for fruitful discussions on transit planning and operations. We thank the Editor and the referees for their valuable comments.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Transportation
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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