The Dubai Tram’s inaugural service is certainly a cause for celebration because it meets a longstanding need that has existed in our biggest city.
However its introduction also serves as a reminder that Dubai’s transport infrastructure planning cannot stand still and it won’t – a planned extension will add six more stations.
The tram will help reduce residents’ and visitors’ reliance on cars – whether their own or taxis – in areas like the Marina, which was renowned for gridlock at peak times even before the disruption caused by construction of the tram network.
In particular, the connections between the tram and the Dubai Metro will make commuting by public transport far more feasible than before. One criticism of the Metro was that the stations were rarely near residential areas but the Marina in particular has some of Dubai’s highest population densities, allowing the two services to complement each other.
One reason why the planning authorities need to look so far ahead is because of the lag between planning and delivery – sometimes lasting many years – of projects like the Dubai Tram. More info