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Riyadh makes progress on Massive Public Transit System

Riyadh makes progress on Massive Public Transit System



Metro on track for 2019 launch

At a total cost of $27 billion, it is Saudi Arabia’s first public transportation network and the largest infrastructure project worldwide

June 2017

The City of Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, is building the world’s largest public transit system – the King Abdulaziz Public Transport Project – in just five years.

According to The High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh (HCDA) construction of the project will finish at the end of 2018. Soon after, testing of the automated, driverless train service will start in the last quarter of 2018, and the goal is to begin service to the public in the second half of 2019.

“Initially, we were planning to build two metro lines in seven years. We’ve ended up with six lines, in five years,” said Dr Jalal Nafakh, chief transportation planner at HCDA.

Managed by The High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh (HCDA), this massive project includes six metro lines covering 176 km and 85 stations. Additionally, there will be 24 bus routes covering 1,900 km and 3,000 stations and stops.

At a total cost of $ 27 billion, it is Saudi Arabia’s first public transportation network and the largest infrastructure project worldwide.

Riyadh’s population of 6.5 million today is expected to reach 8.3 million by 2030. Its streets currently handle 9 million car trips daily, making the need for a public transit network imperative.

Because of the tight time-frame for a project of this size, HCDA has had to coordinate the multiple aspects of the project in parallel with each other. Three consortia were awarded the project, made up of 35 international firms specialising in construction, design, operations and maintenance. Today, more than 52,000 people are working on the project, in 23 different languages.

For its rolling stock, HCDA commissioned three different global manufacturers: Siemens, Bombardier and Alstom.  Mercedes Benz and MAN will provide its fleet of buses. In order to implement its multi-supplier strategy, HCDA had to unify the design of its metro cars and buses, so all manufacturers will provide a finished product with an identical look and feel. In addition, certain cultural elements have been integrated in the interior design of the vehicles.

The new transportation system will include 85 metro stations. To come up with iconic designs for Riyadh’s four most important stations, HCDA launched an international architectural contest. The winners were Zaha Hadid, of London, for the King Abdullah Financial District Station; Gerber Architekten, of Germany, for the Olaya Station; SnØhetta, of Norway, for the Downtown Station and Omrania, of Saudi Arabia, for the Western Station. These innovative stations will change the skyline of Riyadh.

The HCDA is the government body responsible for the urban planning and development of Riyadh City. Chaired by the Governor of the Riyadh region, its members include senior representatives from the ministries of: Finance, Transportation, Municipal and Rural Affairs, Interior (Traffic Police Department), Water and Electricity, and members from the Riyadh Municipality, the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry and city residents.




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