Wiener Linien says it has evaluated similar systems in other cities and concluded that safety levels on automatic metros are higher than on conventional lines.

The first section of Line U5 will open in 2023 between Karlsplatz and Altes AKH. The line will use the existing Karlsplatz – Rathaus section of Line U2, which will be converted to driverless operation, with a new-build section for the remainder of the line to Altes AKH.

Wiener Linien has also announced that a tender will be launched soon for a contract to supply and maintain up to 45 new six-car U-Bahn trains and these will need to be equipped for operation both with and without drivers. Twenty-four sets will be used to replace older trains whilst the others will provide the additional fleet capacity required for the expansion of the network.

A winning bidder is due to be selected by the end of next year, with deliveries scheduled to start in 2018 or 2019.