Automatic Platform Screen Doors: Enhancing Safety at Metro Stations



Metro rail transit systems around the world have evolved over the years to provide efficient, eco-friendly and safe urban transportation to millions of commuters on a daily basis. While the benefits of metro rails are immense, safety of passengers has always been a priority especially at platforms where trains arrive and depart. Automatic Platform Screen Doors (APSDs) are helping address safety concerns at metro platforms by acting as physical barriers.

Introduction of APSDs

In the early days of metro operations, platforms relied only on basic measures like caution signs and announcements to alert passengers of approaching or departing trains. However, with increasing ridership and frequency of trains, accidental falls or instances of passengers and objects getting stuck between the train and platform became difficult to avoid. It was then that many metro networks started exploring permanent physical barriers that could prevent such unsafe scenarios. Automatic platform screen doors  emerged as a viable solution that have now been widely adopted across metro systems globally.

Working of APSDs

APSDs work on the principle of synchronizing the opening and closing of transparent sliding doors or gates installed on the platform edge, in tandem with the train doors. When a train approaches the station, the APSD gates closest to the tracks open simultaneously just as the train doors open to allow passengers to board and alight safely. As soon as the train doors close to begin the journey, the APSD gates also close immediately thereafter leaving no gaps. This prevents any accidents caused due to untimely opening or closing of train doors while passengers are still in the gap.

Benefits of APSDs

The primary benefit of APSDs is enhancing passenger safety in a big way. Accidents due to passengers or objects falling onto tracks are completely avoided. Secondly, APSDs help demarcate safe waiting and circulating areas on platforms clearly for passengers. They also discourage unsafe behaviors like passengers leaning out or jumping across platforms while trains are present. Metro operations have also seen improved reliability with APSDs minimizing potential delays caused due to objects falling on tracks. Maintaining precise headway between metro trains has become more achievable.

Installation Challenges

While the benefits of APSDs are immense, retrofitting them on existing metro stations does pose some engineering and operational challenges. Platforms need structural modifications to embed the screen door frames and foundations. Complex coordination is also required between signaling, ticketing and train control systems to achieve micro-level synchronization of train and screen door operation. Space constraints too need careful planning especially at interchange or terminal stations. Cost is another factor with estimates for a full APSD installation running into millions of dollars depending on station size and design. Despite these challenges, most metro agencies consider APSDs a critical long term safety investment.

Indian Metro Experiences

In India too, metro networks are actively implementing APSDs recognizing their manifold advantages. The Delhi Metro was among the early adopters installing partial APSDs along some corridors of its phase 1 network in the late 2000s. Since then, other metro projects have either commissioned or are in progress of installing full platform screen doors across all stations. The Mumbai MetroOne Line has comprehensive APSDs along its 11.4 km corridor. Even newly commissioned networks like the Kochi Metro have APSDs from the start. While initial implementations faced minor glitches to be addressed, the overall feedback from Indian metro travelers has been tremendously positive towards APSDs enhancing their safety.

APSDs – The Way Forward

As metro ridership keeps rising, will remain an essential safety feature demanded by discerning urban commuters. While developed metro networks already have comprehensive APSD coverage across lines, their installation continues in developing cities. Advanced APSD models with added smart capabilities are also evolving. For example – sensors detecting passenger crowding can delay train departures, IR beam multi-layer safety screens, passenger information displays integrated with screens. Governments too should support their procurement, installation and maintenance not just through initial project outlays but also longer term maintenance budgets. With continual innovation, APSDs can become even more effective force multipliers for metro operations worldwide to deliver safe, reliable urban mobility.


In conclusion, Automatic platform screen doors have emerged as a critical safety infrastructure for metro rail operations globally. From initially addressing accidental track falls, their benefits now encompass multiple dimensions of passenger safety, train operations, crowd control and station aesthetics. While installation challenges exist, most metro agencies consider them a necessity rather than luxury with proven benefits justifying their costs. As metro ridership balloons and networks expand in more cities, APSDs will remain an integral metro feature assuring safe, hassle-free travel to millions every day.


  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it