Automatic train operation
Automatic Train Operation (ATO) is an operational safety enhancement device used to help automate operations of trains. Mainly, it is used on automated guideway transits and subways which are easier to ensure safety of humans. Most systems elect to maintain a driver (train operator) to mitigate risks associated with failures or emergencies.
Many modern systems are linked with Automatic Train Control (ATC) and in many cases Automatic Train Protection (ATP) where normal signaller operations such as route setting and train regulation are carried out by the system. The ATO and ATC/ATP systems will work together to maintain a train within a defined tolerance of its timetable. The combined system will marginally adjust operating parameters such as the ratio of power to coast when moving and station dwell time, in order to bring a train back to the timetable slot defined for it.
Types of train automation 
- GoA 0 corresponds to on-sight train operation, similar to a tram running on street traffic.
- GoA 1 corresponds to a fully manual train operation where a train driver controls not only the starting and stopping of a train but also the operation of train doors and handling of emergencies or sudden train diversions.
- GoA 2 corresponds to a semi-automatic train operation (STO) where the starting and stopping of a train is automated but a standby train driver remains in the driver's cab to prompt the train to start, to control the operation of train doors, to manually operate the train if needed and to handle emergencies. Many ATO systems in the world are of grade GoA 2.
- GoA 3 corresponds to a driverless train operation (DTO) where a train can start and stop itself but a train attendant may be present to operate the train doors and to manually drive the train in case of emergencies.
- GoA 4 corresponds to an unattended train operation (UTO) where the starting and stopping of trains, as well as operation of train doors and handling of emergencies are fully automated without any regulatory requirement of staff present in the trains.
The earliest ATO system on a full metro line was on the Barcelona Metro line 2 (now integrated on L5), which was introduced in 1961 and replaced with a more modern system in 1972. The original ATO system used on the Barcelona Metro used two photocells, one for acceleration and one for braking, with steel plates mounted on the track to control train spacing and intervals. Another example was on the Victoria line of the London Underground, opened in 1968, whose ATO system is now currently being upgraded until 2013. The ATO system performs all functions of the driver except for the opening and closing of the doors. The driver needs only to press two buttons to start the train and, if the way is clear, then the train will automatically proceed to the next station. Many newer systems are now computer-controlled, including London's Docklands Light Railway, the Central Line and Jubilee Line of the London Underground, Line 14 of the Paris Métro, Copenhagen Metro, Kelana Jaya Line of Kuala Lumpur Rail Transit System, the Washington Metro, Hong Kong MTR, Manila Light Rail Transit System, North East Line, Circle Line and the future Downtown Line of Singapore MRT, Tokyo Metro Namboku Line, Kobe Municipal Subway, a number of ART-based and VAL-based systems.
|Ankara Metro||M1 line|
|Barcelona Metro||Lines 2, 3, 5 and 11|
|České dráhy||ATO (automatic target braking, traction energy consumption optimisation, travelling time control) in commercial operation since 1993 (test runs with passengers from 1991). Over 200 vehicles equipped with on-board part, over 300 km of tracks equipped with trackside part and next 300 km of track being prepared for GPS orientation (no need for trackside part).ATO AVV special site Czech, English
ATO AVV Czech Raiways technical collection, Czech ATO AVV Magazine Automatizace, Czech ATO AVV Czech Raiways technical collection, anotation, English AZD product catalogue, Czech AZD product catalogue, English
|CPTM||7, 9 and 12|
|Copenhagen Metro||All lines|
|Dubai Metro||All lines|
|MRT/LRT (Singapore)||All MRT and LRT lines. All except North South Line and East West Line are fully automated and driverless.|
|London Underground||Victoria Line, Central Line, Jubilee Line, Northern line|
|Madrid Metro||All lines|
|Manila Light Rail Transit System||Manila Light Rail Transit System Line 2 (Purple Line)|
|Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority||All lines|
|Metro de Caracas||All lines|
|Milan Metro||Line 3|
|MTR||All heavy rail lines. Additionally, Disneyland Resort Line is capable of running in driverless mode.|
|Muni Metro||J Church, K Ingleside, L Taraval, M Ocean View, N Judah, S Castro Shuttle, T Third Street|
|New York City Subway||BMT Canarsie Line (L train) began full ATO in June 2012. IRT Flushing Line (7 <7> trains) undergoing track and signal modernization, with completion in 2016.|
|Nuremberg U-Bahn||In process of converting the existing U2 line to ATC operation|
|Paris Métro||Automated: all lines except 3bis, 7bis and 11. Driverless: Line 14, Line 1|
|PATCO Speedline||Automated from Philadelphia, PA to Lindenwold, NJ|
|Prague Metro||Line A, ATO (automatic target braking, door control, passenger information system control, traction energy consumption optimisation, travelling time control, driverless turn in terminal station), operated since 2003. Producer: Computer solution, data from trackside part transferred via ATP data channel.
Line C, ATO (automatic target braking, door control, passenger information system control) operated from 1978 to 1996. Direct commands coded by permanent magnets.
|Rio Tinto Group||Has iron ore railway driverless go-ahead|
|San Juan Tren Urbano||Has an Siemens ATC system that allows fully automatic operation possible|
|Vienna Metro||Line U1-U4 since opening. Driver for safety and security reasons.|
|Seville Metro||ATO has been installed shortly after inauguration.|
|Valencia Metro||Line 1 has ATO installed in the underground section of the line. Lines 3 and 5 are preinstalled as ATO|
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (September 2011)|
For the purpose of these records, a "driverless" train is defined as one that normally operates fully automatically, with no on-board human intervention.
- Longest fully automatic driverless network: Vancouver SkyTrain, 68.7 km (42.7 mi) on three lines
- Longest partially automatic driverless line: Lille Metro Line 2, 31.7 km (19.7 mi)
- First partially automatic driverless line: London Underground, Victoria Line, 1968
- First Metro with All Lines system Caracas Metro, 1983
- Longest fully automatic driverless underground line: Circle MRT Line, Singapore, 35.7 km (22.2 mi)
- First fully automatic driverless underground line: Paris Métro line 14, Paris, 1998
The Dubai Metro (about 70 km in the first phase, including 50 km in one line) and Singapore's Circle MRT Line (33.3 km) are likely to take over the longest network/line and longest underground line records respectively when completed.
The future 
Many railways are planning on using ATO in the future. It has been partially implemented on the Delhi Metro with plans of full ATO operations by the year 2013. ATO has been recently introduced on the London Underground's Northern line in 2013. Although ATO may also be used on the future Crossrail and Thameslink trains, it has not yet been implemented on any UK mainline railways.
See also 
- Communications-based train control - a moving block signalling system that can also be used to automate operation of trains
- List of driverless trains
- International Association of Public Transport. "A global bid for automation: UITP Observatory of Automated Metros confirms sustained growth rates for the coming years". Belgium.
- Elisabeth Fischer (23 August 2011). "Justifying automation". Railway-Technology.com.
- New York City Transit - History and Chronology.
- "MTA L Train Response to Squadron" (Press release). Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York). 2011-09-06. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
- "New York Flushing Line CBTC contract awarded". Railway Gazette. 2010-06-28. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
- Railway Gazette: Driverless operations start in Nürnberg
- Railway Gazette International July 2008 p203
- www.railway-technology.com Tren Urbano Rapid Transit System, Puerto Rico - Accessed 2011-07-12
- Railway Technology - ALSTOM chosen for the world’s longest fully automated metro line in Singapore
- DubaiCityGuide.com : Special Features - Schon Properties