Personally, I dont like the idea of computers controlling the trains instead of drivers, computers always stuff up at some stage. I'm glad it won't be happening here anytime soon
Please be aware - that many computer systems have a near 99.99% error free operation. With computer - it's even possible to say that there lesser chance of something going wrong, than with humans in control. Such example if you had computer controlling, you could adjust train speed, to arrive at the right time, and to maintain precise space between trains...
to automate the loop as in U.S., one would assume the need for barriers that would effectively stop pax entering the platform when a train is to depart.
Well they don't.
Also a means of stopping pax holding doors open or forcing doors open to catch the train as they run late.
Well they don't either...
The New York Metro runs at less than 30 seconds between each train on peak occasions
and the same is true on many inner sections of the London underground network.
Those lines are signalled and fitted with safety devices to match, which could be the case in Melbourne if the inner area were totally resignalled.
And those lines shift massive passenger volumes with, for example, London's Central Line running 8-car trains scheduled about 90 seconds apart (but capable of running at intervals as close as station dwell times permit, say 30 seconds); there is no doubt that very frequent trains helps to minimise dwell times as passenger numbers do not build up on the platforms.
The systems above - do not have any passenger interfering infrastructure (except ticketing and the doors).
Note that in the US - the slam doors have built a reputation for 'not caring' or in other words, if your in them - you get hurt - it's your fault... I personally think we're too friendly with our doors...
Nor do their systems have any barrier (like Hong Kong or Singapore) between station to train.
Biut there perhaps are indicators which show where to board - something we lack.
Aswell - is that our fleet, numer of doors per carriage - is significantly different configuration to theirs... (they have more doors, more standing room - we had a trade off with more seats - because theire systems focuse on Mass Movement, we have more of a suburban niche)
Much of the trouble in maintaining the time table is due to the customer interference factor.
Perhaps - though it is true...
There is speed signalling in force in the loop, with additional train stops to prevent a train approaching signals at stop too quickly, therefore making the loop a safer system upon which to travel. The system forces drivers to average 30kph or less through the loop during peak times.
I don't think the 30kph would work too well, when we can run at near full speed. But as i said, drivers have more margin for error than computers...