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MetroCities: moving into the 3rd millennium – and stimulating the economy


09 Dec 2008



9 December 2008

The 3rd International Metro Conference of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) closed in Lausanne, Switzerland, at the end of last week with the message that investment in public transport infrastructure projects, in particular rail, can rapidly help to stimulate the ailing economy.

Speaking at the closing of the conference, which was attended by over 250 metro specialists from 37 countries, Yves Ramette, Chair of UITP’s Metro Committee stated: “Public transport infrastructure projects are an excellent way of filling the order books of the railway, construction and civil works sectors – sectors that are major
creators of employment.”

“In the current economic climate, it is also clear that priority will be given to secure investments. In this respect the public transport sector responds very well to the needs of the market,” continued Mr Ramette. When one takes into account the life-time of a metro system – London’s metro line was opened back in 1890 – it is also clear that investment in rail infrastructure will pay off over the long-term.

“Investments in the sector also help improve quality of life in ever-growing cities, easing congestion, pollution and the effects of climate change,” added UITP Secretary General, Hans Rat.

In 2006, metro networks carried some 155 million passengers per day, or 34 times the average daily number of air passengers. This comparison clearly demonstrates the economic and social importance of developing, organising and
operating a metro system.

On the theme, ‘MetroCities: moving into the 3rd millennium: How new technologies shape our metros’, the conference put a special focus on the automation of metros systems, which allow for increased levels of passenger comfort, more flexible supply, increased regularity and reliability, and higher levels of security – not to mention a strong return on investment.

Already some 30 driverless lines are in operation. A study among UITP manufacturing members forecasts that by 2020, 75% of all new metro lines will be designed and implemented for driverless operations. Existing lines will
also be massively retrofitted to driverless operation on the occasion of periodic modernisation of rolling stock or signaling equipment.

UITP is the international network for public transport authorities and operators, policy decision-makers, scientific institutes and the public transport supply and service industry. It is a platform for worldwide co-operation, business development and the sharing of know-how between its 3,100 members from 90 countries. UITP is the global advocate for public transport and sustainable mobility, and the promoter of innovations in the sector. For more information on UITP and public transport, visit

UITP press contact

Cara McLaughlin | Director of Communications

Direct phone: 32 2 6636639 | Mobile: 32 479 96 05 90 | Fax: 32 2 6601072 |


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