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Hitachi Rail's Autonomous Trains to Revolutionize Milan's Public Transport

Hitachi Rail's Autonomous Trains to Revolutionize Milan's Public Transport
photo: Hitachi Rail/Hitachi Rail's Autonomous Trains to Revolutionize Milan's Public Transport
03 / 07 / 2023

From 4 July, Hitachi Rail will help connect the new M4 ‘Blue Line’ from San Babila station in Milan city center to Linate airport, cutting journey times by two-thirds, from 33 to just 12 minutes. This major milestone for the Blue Line marks a significant shift in the transition from private to public transport across Milan, helping to cut carbon emissions, and air and noise pollution.

Upon completion in the second half of 2024, the Blue Line will connect the east and west of the city, linking 21 stations in just 30 minutes. The Blue Line is being delivered by the M4 consortium, in which Hitachi Rail is a shareholder, and for which it is delivering modern driverless trains, the signaling system, telecommunication technologies, and digital pricing and access control systems.

The Blue Line will deliver a significant boost for public transport, providing a train every 180 seconds during peak hours, with a maximum speed of 80 km/h and, a capacity of up to 500 passengers per vehicle. The train will carry an estimated 24,000 people per hour per train direction. The new service will deliver a significant modal shift helping to cut 4.43 million car journeys annually. This will result in an annual reduction of 10,310 tonnes of CO2 and 1,511/kg of harmful particulate matter (PM10) in the air.

Hitachi Rail will deliver 47 autonomous trains for the Blue Line. The state-of-the-art trains will draw on Hitachi Rail’s autonomous technology already employed in the likes of Milan, Copenhagen, Riyadh, and Honolulu. The trains will be equipped with a real-time video system connected to the PCO (Central Operations Centre), where all the automatic operational activities are carried out to manage the flow of trains and control the entire system. They have wide accessibility, and spaces designed specifically for the connection to and from Linate airport.

Hitachi Rail also supplied the ATC signaling system, based on CBTC driverless technology, which will help to deliver a reliable and safe service. The technology enables a high degree of flexibility, allowing the number of trains on the line to easily vary, responding to passenger needs.

"Our work to connect San Babila will allow Milan's citizens and visitors to leave their cars at home when they travel to the airport," comments Luca D'Aquila, COO of Hitachi Rail Group and CEO of Hitachi Rail Italy. "This is a significant milestone for the city in achieving a mass modal shift from private to public transport. When the new Blue Line is complete next year, it will remove 4.43 million cars from the road helping to dramatically cut congestion, carbon emissions, and harmful air pollution. Hitachi Rail is convinced that urban mobility is the main driver for the decarbonization of the transport sector, and allowing citizens to reach Linate airport in twelve minutes from the center by metro, onboard comfortable and safe trains, means providing the city with a valid alternative to cars, encouraging mobility based on public transport”.

Source: Hitachi Rail