Engineering Blog Post
Being an Industrial & Systems Engineer, before we were given this assignment I had noted the complexity involved with designing and coordinating the subway system. The efficiency of the metro is a remarkable accomplishment, in the sense of how fast they move, the large area covered by the subway lines, the incredibly short intervals between trains, and planning all this to ensure that trains are on time and don’t collide. One of the most important yet difficult engineering aspects to account for involved with the metro system is the number of passengers that will be expected at any time of the day on a certain day of the week at a certain stop along a certain line. Once the estimate is made, the engineers must take into account the passenger capacity of each train and base the time intervals upon those calculations. The difficulty in this relates to the fact that because the trains cannot collide, the frequency of the trains must slowly yet steadily increase or decrease to match peak passenger hours. If the coordination of the system is done properly – which it has been in Madrid – you end up with a metro system which has frequent trains that service a majority of the city during a large portion (19.5 hours) of the day.