Driverless Riyadh metro to ease traffic congestion

Driverless Riyadh metro to ease traffic congestion .Riyadh: Saudi Arabia awarded more than $22 billion of contracts to develop a metro line in the capital as the world’s biggest oil exporter joins Dubai and Qatar in expanding its transport networks.

The kingdom gave Bechtel Group a $9.4 billion contract, Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas one valued at $7.8 billion, and Ansaldo STS a $5.2 billion deal. Shares of Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, also known as FCC, jumped to the highest level in six months.

The six-line network will serve the city centre, government facilities, universities, commercial areas, the airport and the King Abdullah financial district, according to the project’s website. It will reduce traffic congestion, enhance the economic dynamism of the Saudi capital and improve its inhabitants’ quality of life.

This metro has three levels of comfort: First class, Family and Single. To minimise delays between trains, the Metropolis trains will be controlled by two operational control centers equipped with the Urbalis driverless system.

Construction of the 175-km (109-mile) network will start in the first quarter, Prince Khalid bin Bandar, president of the High Commission for the Development of Riyadh, said on Sunday. It will take about five years, according to Tarek Al Fares, vice-president of the development authority.

Oil-rich Gulf nations are spending billions of dollars to build airports, ports and rail networks. Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), awarded four contracts valued at about 30 billion riyals ($8.2 billion) for the first phase of the Doha Metro in June as it prepares to host the 2022 soccer World Cup. Dubai, the second-biggest emirate in the United Arab Emirates, built the first metro network in the Gulf Cooperation Council in 2009.

Population growth
The project seeks to provide “sustainable and more effective alternatives” for transport in Riyadh where the number of vehicles rose to more than 1.5 million this year, the Saudi Press Agency cited Prince Khalid as saying.

Riyadh counts almost six million inhabitants with an expected population explosion in 2030 set to increase the population to more than eight million.

One of the largest turnkey metro projects ever launched in the world, this fully automatic driverless network will be 170-km-long and will include 87 stations. The network is scheduled to enter commercial service in 2018.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy, is spending more than $500 billion to upgrade infrastructure and create jobs as it seeks to reduce the economy’s reliance on hydrocarbons.
Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas’ shares traded 3.7 per cent higher at €10.655 at in Madrid. A closing price at that level would be the highest since January 29.

Metropolis trains and the infrastructure components for Riyadh will be produced at Alstom Transport’s sites in Europe.

Driverless Riyadh metro to ease traffic congestion

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