Metro and Automatic Train Operation (ATO)

Metro and Automatic Train Operation

En Español

Let's talk ATO and a smoother ride for customers. Did you know that Metro opened its doors in 1976 with ATO? Metro is restoring automatic train operation, or ATO, functionality systemwide to create another layer of safety and performance to its operations today. This improved system will add technology for our train operators and a better ride for our customers.

Like autopilot in planes, ATO provides energy saving enhancements through optimized acceleration and braking. Additionally, ATO makes the starts and stops of train operations smoother. The technology also helps operator efficiency by helping customers keep consistent arrival and departure schedules, achieving better on-time performance for the entire system.

red line customer
red line employee

What's new and improved about ATO today?

ATO is the function used by many industry peers around the world. It's considered a best practice and industry standard for most transit operations. At Metro, restoring the ATO function would place us on par with our peers and upgrade our train control technology. In simple terms, reinstating ATO would automate control of a train's acceleration, deceleration, and speed. As well as automate the opening of train doors.

people on Metro platform

For our customers, ATO means more on-time trains and improved service reliability thanks to a feature that allows Metro to pre-program train schedules. ATO technology also makes precise speed and brake control possible. The result is an overall smoother ride with fewer abrupt movements.

Rest assured that train operators are still alert and active on Metro trains during ATO mode. The automated technology assists them in driving the train while allowing more time to monitor track conditions and enhance customer service.

The restoration of ATO at Metro marks a new day for a better customer experience and the end of strictly manual mode. With upgraded systems and a clear understanding of what it takes to maintain equipment for optimal performance, Metro has worked hard since the collision of 2009 on educating customers and training operators for better operational safety and efficiency.

Auto Doors

Doors Opening...Automatic Door Operation (ADO) is the next customer improvement as part of the larger Rail Automation Program. ADO - or Auto Doors - will enhance customer safety, operator efficiency, and save everyone time. Auto doors technology will open doors only when the train is properly aligned with the station platform. Like ATO, the Auto Doors capability has been a part of Metro's features since the rail system opened in 1976.

What can customers expect with Auto Doors?

  • Saves time per stop and total trip - Auto doors technology will open Metro train doors 10-15 seconds faster than manual mode.
  • Exit and make connections quicker - The seconds saved at each station add up to help customers reach a connecting train, escalator, or elevator, faster.
  • Metro's auto-open, manual-close, safety combo - While train doors will open automatically, train operators will still close train doors manually. After operators look outside their cab window to ensure everyone has safely exited or boarded the train, operators will manually close the train door.