There is talk of a ‘driverless’ tube network, and where would be pioneering such a bold and innovatory move – why London of course!
According to a press statement recently released by the London Assembly, the drive towards underground trains that could literally drive themselves would not happen until 2020, at the earliest.
The introduction of driverless trains in London is initially dependent on securing funding and would then require a full analysis that would take into consideration points such as design modifications, staffing, and, of course, passenger safety.
The Mayor of London has unveiled plans to introduce automatic train control, which is already in place on certain underground lines, to 48% of tube trains by the end of 2014, stating that he wishes London to “pave the way” for the first ‘driverless’ train to be run within a decade. The Victoria, Central and Jubilee lines are already semi-automatic, although all of the London Underground network currently has drivers on board.
Chair of the Transport Committee, Caroline Pidgeon said at a press statement regarding a driverless tube network in London:
“The issue of if and how ‘driverless’ trains are developed is of great interest to Tube passengers. If funding is acquired for such technology, TFL will need to consider carefully how it moves forward and must take into account passengers’ views.”
There has however been a degree of criticism aimed at the drive towards a driverless Tube network in London. Several trade unions, including Aslef and RMT, have voiced their concerns over the safety of having a solely automatic Underground system.