At the 59th UITP World Congress and Exhibition in Dubai, RATP CEO, Pierre Mongin, and Alstom Transport President, Philippe Mellier, announced the creation of Metrolab, a research laboratory dedicated to developing the automatic metro of the future.
Their combined expertise will allow Metrolab to develop complete systems covering infrastructures, rolling stock, signalling, passenger information, operations and maintenance.
The solutions developed by Metrolab will be marketed by the RATP Group or Alstom Transport under the name Optimet.
Metrolab will initially have a staff of 15, all of them experts in integrating complex urban transport systems. It will be managed by two general directors, François Jasmin (RATP) and Didier Valiere (Alstom Transport).
The company’s budget will be financed in equal parts by the two partners’ capital. The first research results will take shape by 2013 with a demonstration metro trainset.
“Alstom is very pleased to combine its 70 years of international metro experience with the expertise of the RATP Group, one of the world’s leading operators,” said Philippe Mellier, President of Alstom Transport.
“With Metrolab, we are preparing to meet the future needs of a market that appears particularly promising given that by 2015, over 500 cities worldwide will exceed one million inhabitants.”
There is a great deal of renewed interest in automatic metros around the world. The congestion of metro lines, linked to exploding urban demographics, is a real challenge for cities.
One of the most effective solutions for preventing the saturation of networks and increasing their transport capacity is to automate signalling and metro operation. This makes it possible to increase the frequency of trainsets and reduce waiting time between two metros, in complete safety and with maximum comfort.
The increasing complexity of technical solutions and infrastructure projects is leading more and more customers to demand comprehensive turnkey solutions. It is this type of solution, guaranteeing overall cost and timeframe, which the research conducted at Metrolab will target.
Both companies have a great deal of experience in this area, having already carried out similar projects in Singapore, Lausanne, Cairo, Shanghai, Caracas and Paris.