Cities around the world are fueling the resurgence of passenger rail as they modernize aging transportation systems and build new systems to serve rising urban populations. Advanced passenger railways benefit the public and position urban centers and nearby areas for growth and livability.
Efforts to create pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly places are bringing greater attention to metropolitan passenger railways, or metros, which increase capacity and strengthen a city’s ability to thrive. Metros, having subterranean dedicated routes, provide an effective transport solution to relieve traffic in highly congested areas where roadway expansion is not an option.
As cities focus on realizing their vision of desirable places to work, play, live and move about, they are turning away from traditional car-centric planning, establishing rail as the backbone of an emerging public transport network or updating their existing rail systems.
Whatever the current approach may be, one goal is shared by cities the world over—to manage traffic congestion and improve mobility, thus facilitating long-term urban development and economic growth. Upgrading and expanding metro systems —aka tube, underground, and subway—will help provide the necessary infrastructure to reach these objectives.
Understanding how metro systems can support and progress identified priorities in cities throughout the world is fundamental to delivering each city’s vision and defining its own character. Smart City initiatives, which foresee an integrated system of people, vehicles and physical and digital infrastructure, highlight the importance of transport systems that enable safe, reliable, flexible and comfortable journeys.
Passenger rail is already considered a safe and sustainable form of transport. Yet, current needs and issues challenge the industry to progress even further. The worldwide mandate to reduce carbon footprints calls for metros to utilize innovative strategies and techniques to transition to zero emission for the whole of their operations. Determining how new mobility technology can help shape customer-centric services is essential for the development of future-ready passenger rail systems that will work for today’s populations and tomorrow’s generations. Designing resilience into metros will allow these intricate, far-reaching systems to endure and perform in the face of climate change impacts and rapid technological development.
Keeping people and their needs at the forefront of planning and decision-making will enable the best use of resources.
WSP has developed and earned a strong presence in the metro domain for over 100 years, advising as well as contributing diverse technical expertise to long-established and new systems. Building on that experience, our collaborative and multidisciplinary international teams are addressing evolving public transport needs and expectations through infrastructure projects and large-scale programs across the rail spectrum.
Here is an in-depth look at our work in metros toward delivering envisioned outcomes for cities around the world. Enjoy the ride.