The Saudi capital Riyadh has set itself a daunting task: to build an automated metro comprising six lines simultaneously in five years. David Briginshaw explains how this ambitious project will be implemented.
MOST cities build their metro networks in stages and find building one or two lines a sufficient challenge, so it was rather surprising when Riyadh announced a bold plan to build six lines totalling 176.6km simultaneously in just five years, in a country which has only built one metro line so far, in Mecca, and which lacks sufficient expertise to take on the task itself. Nevertheless, this is the challenge which ArRiyadh Development Authority (ADA) has set itself, and it is indicative of the huge infrastructure projects which Saudi Arabia has already embarked upon, such as the North-South railway nearing completion and the Haramain high-speed line under construction in the west.There is no doubt about the necessity to build a metro in the Saudi capital. The current population of 5.7 million is forecast to grow by 40% to reach 8.3 million by 2030 while transport demand is expected to rise even more rapidly with a 60% increase predicted over the same period. More info