Plans for Abu Dhabi Metro and Tram Make Progress

Plans for Abu Dhabi Metro and Tram Make Progress : The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have planned significant investments in public transport, including that in the Abu Dhabi Metro and Light Rail Tramway. To this end, three important tenders were published in January 2017.

The Abu Dhabi metropolitan area is growing quickly to accommodate a diverse population of more than 3 million residents by the year 2030. By then, it is expected to see a five-fold increase in daily trips. This increase in trips is the result of a variety of factors including economic growth, the physical expansion of the city and a fourfold increase in the number of regional and international visitors.

The current transport system, which focuses primarily on automobile travel, would be insufficient to meet future needs. So, Abu Dhabi’s vision for the future calls for nothing less than a world class, sustainable transport system: one that sets a global standard for efficient services, integrated technologies, and innovative policies.

In order to provide competitive journey times for longer distance trips within the metropolitan area, an extensive and comprehensive Metro Network has been planned.

The metro network envisaged in the 2009 Surface Transport Master Plan (STMP) consisted in approximately 130 km of two-way track and frequent stations throughout four sections:

1.A main loop connecting the Central Business District with Suwa, Reem, Saadiyat, Yas, Abu Dhabi International Airport, Masdar, Capital City, Emerald Gateway, and Zayed Sports City/ADNEC
2.A spur from Airport Road/Hamdan Street serving the Ras Al Akhdar, Al Bateen and Marina Mall areas
3.A second loop serving Mohammed bin Zayed City and Capital City and including cross-platform interchanges with the main loop
4.A spur connecting Shamkah to the Mohammed bin Zayed City loop and serving as a direct link to Capital City

However plans for the metro network have been substantially scaled down to a length of 70 km, as confirmed already in 2012 by Eng. Khalid Mohamed Hashim, Executive Director of the Land Transport Sector at the Department of Transport (DoT). “A lot of changes have been made to our public transport plans” he clarified at the time, when talking on the sidelines of the International Association of Public Transport MENA Congress.

New plans take into consideration the areas with the largest number of passengers, congestion levels and potential reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

Phase 1A will see the construction of an 18 km long metro line, 5 km of which will be built underground, with 17 stations. The metro will serve the Bus Terminal at Al Wahda Mall, North Island (from Al Saada Street to the Corniche, including Reem, Lulu and Sowwah islands), the National Exhibition Center and Zayed Sports City.

The tender for this phase was published on 22 January 2017.

Stations will be 3 to 5 km apart, except in the densest areas along Hamdan Street and Capital City where they will be 1 to 2 km apart.

The STMP also envisaged an extensive 340 km of two-way track Tram Network that was to provide a wide area of transport coverage, especially within the Central Business District (including Suwa, Reem and Saadiyat), Capital City and the area around Raha, Yas, and the airport.

The tram network has also been rationalized and cut down, at least in the first phase.

Phase 1B will see the construction of a 13 km long Green Line, with 21 stations, serving the Eid Prayer Ground on 15th street, the Bus Terminal, the Corniche Hospital on Salam Street and Saadiyat Island.

The tender for this phase was published on 22 January 2017.

Phase 1C will see the construction of a 15 km long Blue Line, with 24 stations. The line will run from Marina Mall, passing through Electra Street and Sowwah Island and out to Reem Island.

The tender for this phase was published on 22 January 2017.

Tram stops are generally planned to be located every 500 meters.

All tram stops will be provided with air-conditioned or passively cooled waiting shelters and will be fully integrated with the pedestrian network serving the local area. Well-integrated interchanges with the metro, bus and taxi will be provided so that patrons will be able to seamlessly transfer to other modes of transport.

By 2030, Phase 1 is expected to serve 823,000 passengers a day, eliminate 400,000 daily road trips and remove 105,000 cars from North Island daily, according to a DoT study.

Abu Dhabi is the capital and the second most populous city of the United Arab Emirates, and also capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the largest of the UAE’s seven emirates.

Initially planned in 1967 by Japanese architect Katsuhiko Takahashi for a population of 40,000 inhabitants, today the city’s population has reached 2.8 million and far surpasses the maximum population estimated when it was designed. This causes traffic congestion, a shortage of car parking spaces and overcrowding.

Writer: John Carlo Ottaviani

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