ERTMS has several advantages in comparison to national (Class B) systems. Some of these advantages, in addition to interoperability, are the following:
The continuous supervision of the speed of trains implies a higher safety level than in most of the national train protection systems.
ERTMS makes it possible to reduce the minimum distance or time between trains, which increases the network capacity. The precise scale of this benefit depends on several aspects, such as the track characteristics and the train protection systems existing before ERTMS installation.
ERTMS defines high standards for components and subsystems. Thanks to such high standards, failures are less likely to occur, and punctuality is increased.
Creation of a seamless market for rail transport
ERTMS will facilitate the development of cross-border rail services as compared to national Class B systems and therefore strengthen the competitiveness of rail vs road transport.
Potential reduction in maintenance costs
ERTMS will reduce costs due to a lower number of trackside components, in particular with ERTMS Level 2 (because lineside signals are no longer required) and even more with ERTMS Level 3, which can operate without most trackside train detection systems.
Most railway companies are facing the challenge of ageing staff, and, at the same time, they are struggling to find replacements. ERTMS deployment, including the digitisation of interlocking and Automatic Train Operation (ATO), will help address this issue by increasing the efficiency of operation.
ERTMS, and its upcoming new radio transmission subsystem Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) in particular, makes it possible to digitise the railway system. In turn, this allows - among other things - for the deployment of ATO, improving the confidence interval when detecting train location.