Dubai Metro, the ambitious light rail project that will cross the city, will handle 1.85 million travellers a day by 2020, according to a project official.
The fast-track project, which started work at the end of August, will be focused around two metro lines connecting strategic locations on Dubai. The first trains are scheduled to be in operation as early as summer 2008, according to Dr Abdelgarder Elshabani, Assistant Director General for Dubai Metro and Public transport Affairs.
In his opening speech at MEED’s 2nd Middle East Rail Project Conference in Dubai, Dr Elshabani said: “Dubai’s population is increasing at an average of 6 per cent a year – a figure that is due to increase. Meanwhile, visitor numbers to Dubai are set to skyrocket, Dubai would have ground to a halt if the transport challenge hadn’t been addressed quickly.
“In 1997 we looked at the infrastructure in Dubai and it became apparent that the fastest growing city in the world could no longer just rely of its road network to meet all its mobility demands. The light rail system will answer this need.”
The metro project is part of Dubai Municipality’s masterplan for an integrated transport system that will consider rail as part of a network including buses, water transport and cars. These will all work in conjunction to make sure that mobility demands are met efficiently.
“It is paramount for a project of this magnitude to be supported by policies that will generate the right environment for the new infrastructure to thrive,” said Dr Elshabani.
The two lines - named the red and green line - will be partly underground and partly raised above ground according to the best environmental fit. All stations will be ultra-modern and environmentally friendly and trains will include first class and women only sections, to ensure maximum appeal for passengers.
“In order to ensure that the Metro is right for Dubai, we have travelled to Europe and South East Asia to learn about other experiences and then adapt them to Dubai. In particular we borrowed best practices from London with the smartcard access concept and the automated driverless system from Paris.”
Dr. Elshabani also touched on the connection between infrastructure development and new real estate opportunities. “We are already seeing that the planned stops are attracting new real estate developments and we know their success will depend on ours.
“Further subprojects being considered also include the possible development of a blue line that would link the existing airport with the new Jebel Ali airport,” he concluded.
The 2nd Middle East Rail Project Conference, one of MEED’s signature conferences, is being held at the Courtyard at the Marriott in Dubai, on September 27 and 28. Event sponsors are Mitsubishi, Obayashi, Kajima Corporation, Yapi merkezi, part of the Dubai Rapid Link Consortium (DURL), and Nour Communications, International Contracts Consultancy and Systra and Parson Brinckerhoff. Additional information can be found on www.meed.com/rail