The Next-Generation Signaling (NextGen) Program will replace the existing Metrorail train control system with a state-of-the-art Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) system and potentially introduce Platform Screen Doors (PSDs). NextGen is a transformative program, bringing CBTC improvements to the entire future fleet of railcars, PSDs to platform edges, and upgrades in the Metro Integrated Command & Communications Center (MICC).

The NextGen program is aimed at achieving several of Metro’s goals outlined in the agency’s Strategic Transformation Plan (STP) targeted at improving service excellence, creating regional partnerships and sustainability. The program’s goals are to provide the operations team and our customers with improved reliability, safety, capacity, and reduce long term maintenance costs associated with the train control system. The challenges of the current ATC system are: track circuit failures due to dissimilar rail, traction power return system, failing and obsolete components, cabling etc. CBTC will introduce concepts of new engineering solutions which are modular and provide design redundancy. This evolving technology can provide improved maintenance functionality that reports degraded communications, centralized architecture, improved performance under low adhesion conditions, and reduced trip times using granular speed control. The paper will compare the current ATC speed control system mapped to the existing physical characteristics of the Right Of Way in parallel with the improved functionality provided by CBTC.

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