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Mass Transit

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We provide complete solutions to clients operating in the metro and light rail markets. From the Dubai Metro to the London Underground, we plan, design and enable surface and sub-surface transit systems.


Modern mass transit systems demand frequent, punctual and reliable services to transport their passengers in a clean and comfortable environment. In addition, they must be able to cope with and adapt quickly to timetable variations and any service disruptions, with minimum additional workload for the control centre operators.

Railways to trams, underground to light rail

Our wide-ranging specialist knowledge and expertise enables us to provide a worldwide, independent consultancy service in all of the core mass transit modes, including trams, light rail, metro systems, rapid light transit, airport people-movers and monorail.

Through working for rail owners and operators worldwide, our recognised industry experts have unique knowledge and experience of mass transit systems across the globe.

Combining technical excellence with business insight and a thorough understanding of stakeholder objectives, we deliver solutions that accord with widely differing demands. From project delivery in the confines of an operational railway, to maximising the value of control and signalling assets, our solutions are value focused.



Using universally recognised techniques, our services in the mass transit sector extend to the provision of support from the conception of a new scheme, through feasibility, development, implementation and commissioning to whole life management.

Metro systems

Drawing on resources from across the Atkins Group, we plan, design and enable our client’s metro systems.

Plan – from cost and risk planning to the provision of due diligence services, we plan every aspect of our clients’ metros projects.

Design – our design expertise extends to every aspect of a metro system, from stations, depots and signalling to track, tunnels and rolling stock.

Enable – clients trust us to look after the management of projects, ensuring deadlines are met, costs are controlled and success is delivered and sustained.

Our team of dedicated metro signalling and telecoms engineers deal with systems ranging from basic electromechanical technologies to complex solid-state and communication based systems, with a range of operational levels from manual tram through to driverless metros. We can provide independent analysis of SCADA, infrastructure telecommunication systems and retail telecommunications. This includes a wide range of associated sub-systems which cover passenger information and security.

Light rail systems

The breadth and depth of our services include:

  • Planning, appraisal and feasibility, such as route planning and economic appraisal
  • Design, engineering and systems, including permanent way and track form, tunnelling, civil engineering, electrification and signalling
  • Construction support including assurance and commissioning
  • Operations and maintenance, including safety cases and asset management.

It is the seamless systems integration we provide that sets us apart. Through our holistic approach, we ensure each element of a mass transit system is designed to maximise the efficiency of the other, ultimately adding value across the entire system.


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Richard Bradley
10 Mar 2016

I was therefore delighted when I heard that my mobile will soon take over the interface to my car. This year alone, three giants – Microsoft, Google and Apple – have announced their forthcoming ‘connected car’ platforms. Apple already has CarPlay, Google seems to have something in the works with its Open Automotive Alliance, and Microsoft revealed its ‘Windows for the car’. They all aim to bring the functionality of your mobile device right to your vehicles' center console. And vehicle manufactures, such as Peugeot-Citroen are also creating app develop platforms to deliver an in-vehicle ecosystem of smartphone apps. But legally, I’m not allowed to use my mobile phone in my car while driving. Route guidance to each of my appointments, along with a few tunes, is of course allowed but will I be allowed to use all the extra functionality without breaking the law or corporate safety policy? Well if the net change in safety is positive then I think that could be a ‘yes’.  And this is a real possibility with the transition from Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) to Cooperative ACC (CACC). CACC trials are moving at some pace with the UK’s first CACC project just started by the UK-CITE consortium members featuring Jaguar Land Rover. The project includes a 41 mile test route capable of testing both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure systems on public roads.  CACC allows a group of vehicles to communicate with each other using a dedicated short range communication creating Vehicular Ad-Hoc Networks (VANeTs). This allows cellular

UK & Europe ,

Lee Woodcock
26 Feb 2016

However, why is it taking place now?  What are the drivers that make this such a thriving opportunity that it's attracting significant investment and increasing in popularity year on year? Just looking at the growth of number of vehicles available globally for car sharing, in 2010 it was almost 32,000 and in 2014 this jumped to over 92,000.  Taking a look how some European neighbours compare: I live in the UK, and though we are very technology aware and innovation friendly, I am not sure why we are lagging behind in this area.  Perhaps it’s a cultural thing! I guess we struggle to talk to people on the underground so jumping in a car with a complete stranger may be a bit of a challenge for us? In an excellent article last year by Lauren Hepler she sets out why we are only just at the beginning of this car sharing journey, alongside some of the key movers and shakers and the type of business models that are emerging.  It certainly shows the private sector is investing in developing propositions to meet user demand with the range of business models that Lauren outlines. One of the key issues for many is the cost of car ownership and the research supports this. For example, Zipcar research found that 53% of millennials consider car ownership out of their reach. In fact, more than half said they would drive less if other transportation options were available, such as public transportation, car sharing, and ride sharing and

UK & Europe ,

John Bradburn
18 Feb 2016

Last month Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, boasted how Londoners and visitors from around the world are embracing the use of contactless technology across the city’s transport network  - with an impressive array of statistics to back up the claim. 27% of all pay as you go journeys on tube and rail services are now made using contactless, contributing to a staggering 300 million journeys since the initial role out of the technology across the network with one million transactions per day.    Transport for London (TfL) first began accepting contactless card payments in December 2012 on London buses. A further roll out in September 2014 brought contactless payments to the tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, and most National Rail services in London. And it seems this growth is set to continue – with TfL announcing that all London black cabs will accept contactless payments from October 2016 . Contactless payments on London transport have been so successful that around one in seven of all contactless transactions in the UK now take place on London transport. The success of contactless payments isn’t just limited to TfL’s network - last month it was reported that contactless payments in general now constitute as much as 10% of all payments - an impressive proportion given only a year before the same figures stood at 3.7% . There is therefore a clear appetite for contactless payment from much of the public. So whilst contactless payment has become the norm for London commuters and visitors, what of the rest

UK & Europe ,

Lee Woodcock
11 Feb 2016

The investment Uber received in such a short period is stunning - as shown in the graphics below, so they must be doing something right, as I’m sure investors will have carried out their due diligence. I’m certainly an Uber convert too! In fact, on my first visit to Dubai they provided an indispensable service on a couple of occasions. Despite that, I had cause to complain, yet within minutes of my email I had received a response and a full refund, so I can't fault their customer service. Their rapid globalisation (over 375 cities at the time of writing this) and service diversification such as UberPool, personal and business profiles with expense reporting, UberRush and UberEats – all demonstrate aspects of growth and innovation that most emerging Intelligent Mobility organisations would be envious of. Yet, despite the apparent business success, they tend to receive negative press coverage… although some of this may be of their own making (i.e. kid’s toys to pacify drunk passengers). There have been some serious allegations regarding passenger safety and city authorities around the world continue to question and challenge the Uber model. There have been arguments over drivers (or are they contractors?) and their remuneration, including examples where unions have backed legal action against the company. Traditional taxi drivers have caused gridlock in protests over Uber, with demonstrations in London and Paris in 2015 and 2016. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a whole lot more that I haven't got time to write

UK & Europe ,


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The Doha Metro Red Line South project is part of the overall Doha Metro project being developed by Qatar Rail.  The Red Line, also known as the Coast Line, runs for about 40 kilometres from Al Wakra in the south to Lusail in the north and has 17 stations. The line connects Hamad International Airport at Terminal 1 to the centre of the city.  The Red Line South contract comprises c. 14 km of twin-bore tunnels along with five underground stations. Atkins was appointed as Lead Designer in June 2013 by RLS JV, a joint venture led by QDVC, a JV between Qatari Diar and France's Vinci Construction Grands Projects, and including South Korea's GS Engineering and Construction and Qatar's Al-Darwish Engineering.  The vision is to provide integrated railway services that are reliable, attractive and be the favoured mode of transport for all. Atkins has been responsible for the multi-disciplinary design of five underground stations, five switchbox structures, four emergency egress shafts as well as functional planning of tunnels/shafts and track alignment design. In addition to the above we are providing expert advice on all fire and life safety issues in establishing the appropriate fire strategy for the stations and tunnels, and assisting the client with obtaining Qatar Civil Defence Department approvals.

Qatar ,

As a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) program management oversight consultant (PMOC), Atkins oversaw the Portland Streetcar Loop (PSL) project, which consists of approximately 3.3 miles of new fixed guideway alignment, six new streetcars manufactured by Oregon Iron Works, along with 28 new streetcar stops. Opened in 2012, the PSL provides service between downtown Portland’s Pearl District to the city’s eastside, including the Lloyd Center District and Central Eastside and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). Our role included assessing the city’s management capacity and technical capability, tracking constructability reviews, planning and implementing risk assessment, performing change order reviews, and providing value engineering services. The new alignment is entirely street-running except for the overpass over the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) tracks. The alignment crosses the Willamette River on the existing Broadway Bridge, which is a bascule bridge structure. The connection from SE Martin Luther King Boulevard to SE Water Avenue in the OMSI district is via viaduct crossing the UPRR. The Portland Streetcar system is touted as one of the most successful in the country, helping spur renewed interest in using modern streetcars to alleviate congestion in crowded urban areas. At least five other cities embarked on new urban streetcars since Portland started the trend in 2001.


The largest component of FasTracks, the Eagle public private partnership (P3) project, unites three corridors and will more than double the Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) current transit system when the final line opens in the fall of 2016. The project’s three corridors stretch over 36 miles from Wheat Ridge and Arvada in Denver’s west suburbs to the Denver International Airport on the city’s eastern side. In June 2010, RTD selected the Denver Transit Partners (DTP) team to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Eagle P3 project. This includes the University of Colorado A Line to Denver International Airport, B Line to Westminster, the Gold Line (G Line) to Wheat Ridge and Arvada, and a commuter rail maintenance facility. Our role on the DTP design team included corridor management and design for the trackway, roadway, and structural elements for portions of the University of Colorado A Line and design for trackway, roadway, drainage, and structural elements of the B Line to Westminster. These corridors involved grade crossings, overhead structures, and underpasses in several jurisdictions. With a significant number of stakeholders and multiple projects in progress, effective coordination and communication was critical to manage interfaces with outside projects, internal project components, and operational requirements. The University of Colorado A Line is particularly important to Denver residents and visitors as it extended rail service to Denver International Airport—located 25 miles outside of downtown Denver—providing cost-effective and reliable transit to the airport. Prior to the start of the Eagle P3 project, Atkins worked closely with


The National Signalling Framework has been established to modernise and improve signalling infrastructure across the UK network. Atkins was awarded contracts for the Anglia and Kent area and the Sussex and Wessex frameworks in January 2012 for seven years. Services provided by Atkins include specialist signalling systems design, installation, testing and commissioning, and the associated power, telecommunications, ancillary civil engineering and OLE designs. The framework was set up to deliver design and build contracts (GRIP 5-8) but at the time that Atkins was appointed, the initial development stage (GRIP 1-4) also needed to be done. Given Atkins’ signalling expertise, we were given an additional commission by Network Rail to progress several key projects to the design and build phase so that they could then be delivered under the framework.  On East Kent Resignalling Phase 2 (EKR2) will see a 33-mile stretch of the region’s network upgraded and a brand new station has opened at Rochester, delivering a more reliable and efficient rail service with five extra trains to London during the morning peak and longer platforms. The scheme is upgrading an area last renewed in 1959 and is part of Network Rail’s strategy to transfer control of signalling systems to Regional Operating Centres. Our team has developed a range of innovations designed to save time on the scheme including the introduction of a new software package to assess assets along the project route. Working with Gioconda Limited, virtual reality software was created which allows the signal designer at the outline design stage to do

UK ,

In collaboration with Vössing, EKJ and Sweco, Atkins is delivering the design of the new rail line including the establishment of the final layout. The project includes designing the rail line in a way enabling it to manage a speed of passenger trains up to 250 km/h. Atkins is responsible for the layout optimization, the intersecting and temporary roads, bridges and other structures, including a 600 m long double track railway bridge. In addition to this, the consortium is delivering a suggested solution for the new overhead catenary system. Once the double track rail line finishes in 2018, it will enable an enhanced railway timetable, reduced travelling time and improved reliability.

Denmark ,

Heathrow Airport is looking to improve its passenger experience while protecting its resilience and optimising commercial returns. This is a challenge at any airport, but even more so at one of the world’s busiest airports. To help Heathrow achieve this, Atkins carried out option studies and design for the re-alignment and widening of two taxiways, as well as reconfiguration of Rapid Exit Taxiways (RETs). We also performed the investigation and recommendations for implementing time based separation for arriving aircraft – helping Heathrow ensure their aircraft landing rate is maintained, even in windy conditions. Our options review for replacement of the existing Instrument Landing System (ILS) also helped make sure aircraft can clear sensitive areas sooner, increasing landing rate in low visibility.

UK ,

Traditionally Atkins’ support to Dubai Airports (DA) has been transport focussed, with signature projects including a Landside Strategic Plan, Airside Strategic Plan and Logistics Masterplan. We were commissioned to create a holistic strategy for landside multi-modal transportation operations to address the anticipated future landside transport demand at Dubai International over the next 10 years, until operations transfer over to new Al Maktoum International Airport. Building on a reputation of high quality and consistent delivery, a broad range of opportunities have now arisen, including consultancy services to support the design and implementation of an Energy Management programme and systems. This project will see Atkins play a crucial role in helping to demonstrate that DA has a robust and integrated Energy Management performance strategy. Our multidisciplinary team will work with the client to embed an energy management programme success model as part of the work, based around the core themes of People, Process and Technical. The programme’s main objectives are to create a schedule of energy improvement initiatives; baseline and monitor electricity and water consumption; integrate all energy management activities; provide control and reporting and set realistic targets to develop and manage a complete plan to meet the DSCE directive. We have also developed an Electric Vehicle Policy, Regulations and Guidelines document on behalf of DA to identify the minimum requirements for planning, delivering and managing Electric Vehicles (EVs) within the passenger terminals and concourses of Dubai International. The Guidelines also considered the development of concourses at the new Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai which

United Arab Emirates ,



Ready to dig  

Atkins is the UK’s leading provider of utility reports. We also provide a wide range of utility management services across the lifecycle of a project.


For more information on our work and experience in this sector please contact:


Philip Hoare
Managing director
United Kingdom
T: +44 1454 66 2566     

Åke Rosenius
Rail area business manager     
Tel: +46 8410 95350 

Eva Rindom
Market director, rail
Tel: +45 52519677

Asia Pacific

John Blackwood
Director, rail infrastructure
Tel: +852 29721002


North America

United States of America
Tel: +1 800 477 7275


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