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TTC Chair Moscoe wants automated subway control

November 17, 2006 - 6:56 am
By: John Stall

Is Toronto ready for a computer-automated subway system?

TTC Chair Howard Moscoe likes the idea and thinks that automated train control may be costly but would eventually boost rider capacity.

Moscoe says that this isn’t a new idea as he cites examples used in Asia, throughout Europe and in Canadian cities like Vancouver with its completely automated SkyTrain.

According to Moscoe, the potential for extended TTC service is just one of the benefits of automated train control.

“Well number one, we’ll be able to offer night service, which we haven’t been able to do until now, and that’s a big hit in Toronto,” says Moscoe. “A lot of people work nights, get up early to work, they’ll be able to take the subway.”

The projected increase in rider capacity is also appealing to Moscoe.

“We’ll be enhancing the capacity of the subway system by almost 48 per cent,” says Moscoe. “In other words, it’s the equivalent of adding another Yonge Street subway line.”

One obvious concern with this type of automation is the loss of jobs however, Moscoe says his plan for those whose jobs become obsolete is to reassign them to a role that does not yet exist as part of individual management at individual TTC stations.

According to Moscoe, about $750 million would be needed to implement the technology into the current system, which would allow subway cars to detect and adjust their speed and distance between each other.