Rennes automated metro

In Rennes, expertise in capacity scheduling is boosting the capacity of the automated metro

Rennes automated metro
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PostedNOV. 9, 2022
Words byKeolis
    How can metro systems accommodate more passengers without adding extra trains? Rennes seems to have found the answer by introducing the first system of capacity scheduling: a powerful tool for scheduling stops at stations down to the nearest second in order to boost train frequency.

    Context: accommodating an increase in passengers on the automated metro and compensating for delays in the delivery of new trains

    Transit operators are always getting to grips with new challenges. In this case, the challenge was to boost train capacity, i.e., to increase the number of passengers transported on a line at any given time without adding new trains. Investing in and rolling out new trains is a costly and time-consuming process. In Rennes, two factors made it necessary to find a novel solution—a significant increase in the number of passengers and a delay in the delivery of new metro trains. 

    To remedy this situation, Keolis came up with an innovative solution to increase capacity with the same number of trains while the city awaits the delivery of additional trains: capacity scheduling.

    Exit from the metro in Rennes

    How to meet the increase in the number of passengers in the Rennes metro without additional vehicles? This is the challenge taken up by Keolis with the capacity scheduling system.

    Innovation: capacity scheduling

    The idea behind the capacity scheduling approach introduced by Keolis on the Rennes automated metro system was to increase train frequency by adjusting train stop time at each station down to the second. The first step consisted in observing passenger journeys and behavior. For each station, travel direction and rush hour period, the team measured the time needed for passengers to exit and board trains. 

    In the second step, Keolis teams determined the necessary stop times with great precision for each station and direction of travel. Finally, the teams developed, tested, and validated a new train schedule including these stop times recalibrated to the nearest second.  

    This information was then integrated into the metro system’s automated operation and supervision tool, ensuring that the new train schedule was followed down to the second. Like a metronome, the tool monitors these new stop times with a dual objective: to reduce the overall time spent at stations and to increase train rotation. This level of precision would not have been possible without the full automation of the line. Introducing this approach has sped up the exiting and boarding process, even though the system retains a few extra seconds to ensure passenger safety. 

    Capacity scheduling is based on the estimation of stopping times to the nearest second.
    Capacity scheduling is based on the estimation of stopping times to the nearest second.
    Philippe Leguay

    Philippe Leguay

    International Director Urban Railway Transport Systems, Keolis

    "Capacity scheduling, a 100% Keolis innovation which uses a minimum of resources, has resulted in a more than 5% increase in transportation capacity on the Rennes metro line!"

    Benefit: an increase in train frequency and average speed as well as improved service for passengers 

    In some networks, the potential gains in capacity are over 10%. This solution helps to achieve many goals, especially for our mobility authority partners, since the increased passenger capacity helps them generate savings by making efficient use of existing trains instead of purchasing new ones. In fact, a 10% increase in commercial speed for a fleet of 30 trains is equivalent to adding three extra trains, thus yielding an efficiency equal to a fleet of 33 trains!

    Capacity scheduling boosts transportation capacity and improves the passenger experience: in particular by reducing travel times and waiting times, which translates into greater comfort on board.

    Passengers on the metro in Rennes

    Capacity scheduling has improved Keolis' quality of service by reducing passenger travel times.




    increase in commercial speed by using the capacity scheduling system




    in passenger capacity on the Rennes metro line

    Next steps: continuing to roll out capacity scheduling

    Though the use of capacity scheduling is especially well suited to automated metros, the same principle can also be applied to semi-automated and manual transportation systems. After proving its value in Rennes, the capacity scheduling solution developed by Keolis has since been adapted for the Lille and Lyon metro systems.

    Lyon subway
    Lyon subway

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