Pros and Cons of Platform Screens for Tehran Subway

Pros and Cons of Platform Screens for Tehran SubwayPros and Cons of Platform Screens for Tehran Subway

A plan to install Platform Screen Doors (PSD) on metro lines was discussed at an open session of the Tehran City Council recently.

Platform screens are glass walls that screen platforms from tracks with doors that open in sync with the subway’s own. Some members believed the doors are a solution to prevent ‘accidental subway falls’.

The doors will help prevent accidental falls and improve security by restricting access to the tracks and tunnels.

During the past year (ended March 20), seven suicide attempts in Tehran subway stations led to 4 deaths. This year, three suicide attempts led to one death.

However, the plan had opponents.

Mohammad Mahdi Chamran, head of the TCC, said: “We should see if our priority is to increase coaches and add an extra line to the Tehran subway or to install safety glass doors to prevent a few people from resorting to deviant behavior,” Alef News Agency reported.

“Implementation of the plan will cost more than $303 million. Given the financial constraints, it is better to spend the funds on improving public transportation instead of using it to deter isolated suicide attempts,” he said. “With this amount we can build 10km of metro line.”

Mohammad Mahdi Tondguyan, another member of the council suggested providing security guards at Milad Tower and Nature Bridge to prevent suicide attempts.”


The plan also had proponents.

 Mohsen Sarkhu, a member of Tehran City Council’s Civil Service Commission, said the PSD “would not only help suicide prevention but also prevent garbage and other debris from falling onto the tracks. Inflammable material can start fires when it comes into contact with the electric third rail. (A third rail is a method of providing electric power to a railway train, through a semi-continuous rigid conductor placed alongside or between the rails of a railway track.) By keeping trash off the tracks, the money spent on sending workers every day to clear the debris, can be saved.

Chamran said detailed studies on the advantages and disadvantages of the installation should be done before a decision is taken.

Platform screen doors (PSDs) and platform edge doors (PEDs) at train or subway stations screen the platform from the train. They are a relatively new addition to many metro systems around the world, some having been retrofitted to established systems. They are widely used in Asian and European metro systems.

While the installation is expensive, the doors also have their own safety risks of people likely to be trapped between the platform doors and the train carriage. However cases of this happening are rare and depend on door design.