In 2017, 120 individual urban rail projects were completed worldwide, representing 1,270km of new infrastructure. These figures from UITP’s rail projects’ database show a vigorous increase compared to 2016, both for light rail transit (+27%) and metro (+35%).
In terms of light rail transit (LRT) projects, there was a major change in regional distribution. For the first time, Europe was outpaced by the Asia-Pacific region, while North America, traditionally second in terms of openings of new lines and extensions, came behind the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) and Latin America.
301km of LRT infrastructure opened in 24 countries. The city with the largest development was Wuhan, China (two new lines totalling 51.8km).
Asia takes the lead in metro developments
The Asian domination of the metro market was confirmed in 2017, in large part due to developments in China but also to projects in India, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia.
The most remarkable cities worldwide were Guangzhou (83.7km), Taipei (62km), Zhengzhou (57.3km), Wuhan (55km) and Shanghai (49.3km).
Globally, 968km of metro infrastructure (72% of which were new lines and 28% line extensions) opened in 20 countries. MENA came second behind Asia-Pacific, with most of the region’s new systems opening in Iran.
Fully automated metros
A significant part (13.3%) of the new infrastructure installed in 2017 was for fully automated lines. If we exclude China, which opened its second fully automated line last year (Beijing), fully automated metros represent 36% of new metro infrastructure.
The new fully automated lines, with a combined length of 106.5km, are located in Beijing, Santiago, Istanbul, Seoul, Kuala-Lumpur and Singapore.
Globally, 968km of metro infrastructure opened in 20 countries
UITP strengthens presence in China
Considering the huge metro developments in China (a new 610km in 2017), UITP has been seeking to consolidate links with local operators and organisations. In November 2017, UITP held a workshop on automated metros in Beijing jointly with the China Association of Metros (CAMET).
During the meeting, members of the ‘Observatory of automated metros’ delivered presentations to Chinese metro authorities and operators on global trends in metro automation. In return, key Chinese metro operators and related organising authorities provided an introduction to automation and Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) projects and developments in Chinese cities.
The Yanfang Line, which opened in Beijing 30 December 2017, is China’s first fully domestically-developed fully automated line; that is, all subsystems are developed and supplied by a domestic manufacturer.
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