Anyone who has ever traveled by car in the streets of the French capital knows that Paris is close to a traffic collapse. With the “Grand Paris Express” (GPE), a 35 billion Euros infrastructure project, the city on the Seine responds bravely. By 2030, six new subway lines and 68 stations are to be built.
Objectives of the infrastructure project GPE: Connecting the Ile-de-France and stopping centralization
The most expensive infrastructure project in Europe is expected to create a total of 200 kilometers of new subway line – 90 percent of it underground. The comparison to the previous public transport network shows the extent to which traffic will change: Taken together, all the existing tracks of metro, trams and commuter trains amount to approximately 400 kilometers. This means, GPE is going to increase the network by 50 percent.
The expansion concerns in particular the surrounding area of the city center. Thus, the majority of the routes are supposed to ensure a better connection of the Ile-de-France, which accounts for 30 percent of all the value added of France.
In addition, the planners have another particular goal: to overcome the centralized network. On many routes, commuters currently have to drive to the city center to reach a destination in another peripheral area of the city. Travel times of over an hour are not uncommon – even though destinations are only a few kilometers away (beeline). For many working Parisians, this detour is the reason why they use their car instead of the subway. A loop course with a length of more than 75 kilometers – similar to the route of the S-Bahn lines 41/42 in Berlin – is supposed to solve the problem.
Driverless operation – already reality
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A special feature of the new metro lines of the Grand Paris Express is in operation. The cars of the trains will roll on many parts of the route without drivers and fully automatically. This is already the case on the 14th line. Similar to the Platooning clocking can be reduced thereby. The key here is the moving blocks system, which allows follow-up times to be kept to a minimum of two minutes. In addition, it allows 40 km / h and, thus, higher speed than the regular Paris subways, which make about 25 km / h.
The driverless system of the line 14 was the world’s first fully automatic subway system. In part, it served as a model for the autonomous subway in Nuremberg. The system of the obstacle detection line 14, which is based on infrared, is also used there. In addition, the planners in Franconia took over the technical conditions for the mixed operation of manually and automatically controlled vehicles.
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Expected completion 2030
It will probably be several years before all six of the automated subway lines of the Grand Paris Express start operations. Although the construction work has been under way since 2013, the completion is not expected until 2030 – after a total of 17 years. The initially planned completion of the work on the Summer Olympics 2024 has now been abandoned. This goal had been too ambitious anyway. However, some sections are to be completed by the time of the big event, which should help transport the visitors to the sports facilities.