Bombardier Innovia Metro

Bombardier Innovia Metro

Innovia Metro (stylized as INNOVIA Metro) is the current name given to an automated rapid transit system manufactured by Bombardier Transportation. The original versions look like small subway cars that typically run in two-, four- or six-car trains, but the latest versions are more streamlined two-car articulated designs that are not easily uncoupled. Innovia Metro systems currently in operation run on conventional metal rails and pull power from a third rail, but are powered by a linear induction motor that provides traction by pulling on a "fourth rail" placed between the running rails. A new version of the technology being marketed by Bombardier is compatible with standard electric rotary propulsion.

The design was originally developed in the 1970s by the Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC), a Crown corporation owned by the government of Ontario, Canada, as a system that would provide economic rapid transit service in the suburbs, which would have ridership levels between what a bus could serve at the low-end, or a subway at the high-end. During development the system was known as the ICTS, for ‘'Intermediate Capacity Transit System’'. Sales of the ICTS were made for metro lines in Vancouver, Toronto and Detroit.

Further sales were not forthcoming and the Ontario government lost interest in the company, selling it to Lavalin of Quebec in 1986. That company ran into serious financial difficulties and the UTDC returned to Ontario control, only to be immediately sold to Bombardier. Bombardier used the name "Advanced Rapid Transit" or "ART" after its acquisition of the technology. Bombardier has been much more active in developing and promoting this system, introducing a major new version and winning several additional sales in New York, Beijing and Kuala Lumpur. A future system in Yongin, near Seoul, South Korea, is to use the technology as well. The latest version of the technology is being marketed as the "Innovia Metro".

The largest Innovia Metro system today is part of the Vancouver SkyTrain network, which has seen several major expansions over its lifetime, with several more being planned. It operates just under 50 km of track compatible with Innovia Metro trains.

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