Research: Best Practices in Operating Very High Frequency Metro Services

Increasing service frequency is identified as the primary shorter-term strategy to increase capacity. Maximising frequency on existing lines makes the best use of the expensive metro infrastructure. This study identified best practices in operating very high frequency metro services exploring the means and methods used to achieve high frequency service.

Several CoMET and Nova metros operate one or more very high frequency line (30 trains per hour or more) and many have plans to increase service frequencies. Although almost all metros reported a desire to operate higher frequencies, a wide range of constraints impedes them. Constraints were grouped into five categories with corresponding best practice shown below:

Examples of how metros have dealt with these constraints include:

  • Signalling and Train Control: adopting moving block signalling and Automatic Train Operation.
  • Station and Train Crowding: preventing door re-opening and restrict overcrowding (for example by holding passengers in interchange corridors) to optimise throughput.
  • Terminal Turnaround: enabling multiple trains to turn around simultaneously and clear trains of passengers faster.
  • Service Complexity: introducing separate tracks at intermediate terminals so that terminating trains do not block the following through trains.
  • Fleet: improving availability, compensating through different service patterns.