What Are Platform Screen Doors? Definition, Meaning and Concept
Platform Screen Doors are sliding glass or durable plastic panels installed on train or subway platforms to protect waiting passengers from the tracks below. The gates generally serve as a kind of temporary wall through which passengers can see the tracks and oncoming cars, but have no way of accessing them until the trains arrive. After the train doors open, the panels on the screen doors also open, allowing boarding and disembarking.
Safety is the main reason why platform screen doors are installed, and among safety concerns, suicide prevention ranks high. Jumping onto the tracks before an oncoming train is a common way for people to end their lives. Cities and local governments often install platform screen doors as a means of keeping passengers safely on the platform, preventing accidental jumps and falls.
Keeping the rails and deck separate has many other benefits as well. Platform screen doors often contribute to more controlled temperature environments on interior or underground platforms, preventing train wind from significantly affecting the interior environment. Gates can also help reduce the risk of things falling onto the tracks, reducing cleanup and safety costs.
Not all platform screen doors are full size; that is, not all of them extend from the floor to the ceiling. Some types of doors, known as partial screens or platform edge doors, are usually set higher than the train but leave open space at the top. These convey many of the benefits of full doors, but generally at a lower overall cost. Platform doors, on the other hand, are usually only waist high. Its main function is to prevent accidents; Intentional jumps and littering are still possible with this setup.
Platform screen doors are most popular in commuter rapid transit systems in Asia, particularly in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and many of the larger cities in China. Similar doors have also been installed in several European railway stations. The costs involved in upgrading train stations to accommodate subway platform screen doors are often exorbitant, because much of the rail infrastructure would need regular updating, wiring and testing. For this reason, many transit systems have added the gates to new construction while leaving existing stations as is.
In North America, platform screen gates are rarely seen outside of airport transit ferries. This is due in part to cost, as well as the relative newness of many transit systems. It is often difficult to convince system operators who have only decades of involvement in major construction projects that could inconvenience travelers and lead to delays.