The population of Dubai has rapidly grown from 183,000 inhabitants in 1970 to roughly 1.1 million in present day. The increase in population has been forecasted to continue at an annual rate of 6.4% to reach around 3 million inhabitants by 2017.
With such a rapid addition to the existing population, Dubai has to come up with most efficient and cost-effective alternative modes of transport to reduce traffic congestion, commuting time, reduce pollution and improve air quality. This resulted in the birth of Dubai Metro, the flagship project of the Roads and Transport Authority. AED15.5 billion project will be a benchmark for its state-of-the-art engineering, aesthetic design and for its direct role in providing social benefits.
Being the first railway system in the United Arab Emirates, the project has been a constant source of excitement and inquisitiveness for all. The Dubai Metro will be one of the most advanced urban rail systems in the world and will be the catalyst for tourism, financial and economic growth. A consortium comprising of Japanese companies including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Corporation, Obayashi Corporation, Kajima Corporation and Yapi Markezi of Turkey called Dubai Rail Link (DURL) was awarded the ‘Design and Build’ contract in July 2005. The first stage of the Preliminary Engineering Study was completed in late-2004 concluding that two lines with total distance of 70 km (43.5 miles) are required for smooth movement of the rail system and effective traffic management.The Dubai Metro project will be completed in two phases. The first phase will be the construction of the Red Line, which will run along the Sheikh Zayed Road on a viaduct. The second phase will deliver the Green Line that will be built mostly underground. The Red Line (Phase I) is marked for completion in September 2009 while the Green Line (Phase II) is scheduled to be completed in March 2010.
The two lines will cover an area of almost 70 km, with 35 stations along the 50 km long Red Line and 22 along the 20 km long Green Line. The transfer stations at Al Ittihad Square and Burjuman are common to both lines. A possible extension of the Green Line from Wafi to the projected Festival City development is under study. In total, the Metro System will include 55 stations, 18 km of tunnels, 51 km of viaduct, one important train depot and maintenance facilities site and several supplementary stabling facilities.
Investment costs for the Metro have been assessed at AED14.3 billion that covers civil works, stations, system fixed equipment, trains, engineering and financing. The rail network will be fully incorporated within the overall network of the Dubai Municipality Public Transport Department. Taxi stations and park-and-ride facilities will be included in key stations to further reduce the congestion.
Once in full operation, the Dubai Metro is projected to carry approximately 1.2 million passengers on an average day and 355 million passengers per year. The operating cost will be around AED570 million per year, including staff, maintenance and power consumption. This cost is planned to be easily recovered through fare box revenue and additional revenues derived from advertisement space, joint development or other sources.
The Dubai Metro will run more than 100 modern and fully air-conditioned trains. Each five-car train will be approximately 75m long with seating capacity for around 400 passengers apart from plenty of standing room. Numerous double doors will allow fast and smooth flows of passengers at station. The trains will have a standard class with private women and children section as well as an exclusive first class section. All sections will have a high proportion of seats and be well-equipped with a passenger information system. The electronic passenger information screens will display train journey and other information. The Dubai Metro will offer a safe and reliable service as frequently as every 90 seconds. The glass window will provide an opportunity to relish the panoramic vistas of Dubai’s high-rises. No visually intrusive overhead contact lines will be required. The trains will use steel wheels or tyres that will run on a special double track for full guidance and support. All stations will be equipped with platform screen doors, ensuring optimal safety for passengers and allowing for full air-conditioning in all the stations whether elevated or underground.