Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


VAL is a type of automatic (driverless) light rubber-tired metro. It was designed in the early 1980s by Matra, for the then new metro system in Lille.

The acronym was originally for Villeneuve d'Ascq à Lille (Villeneuve d'Ascq to Lille), the route of the first line to be projected (and inaugurated). It now officially stands for Véhicule Automatique Léger (automatic light vehicle).

In contrast to some other driverless metro systems like the Docklands Light Railway or Vancouver's SkyTrain, the VAL design uses platforms that are separated from the rollways by a glass partition, to prevent waiting passengers from straying or falling onto the rollways. "Platform doors" embedded in these partitions open in synchrony with the train doors when a train stops at the platform.

The Lille metro was inaugurated on April 25, 1983. VAL systems were subsequently built in several other French cities, including:

The automatic trains on Paris Metro's line 14 are based on VAL technology, but are built to a larger scale to be compatible with the other metro lines. Lyon's 4th metro line is a larger version of the VAL on metallic wheels; it was originally developed independently but ended up incorporating some components of VAL technology.

VAL technology is also used in:

See also: Transportation in France

External link(s)