Saudi Cities Redefined

The future of Saudi cities will be redefined because of these new transport sector initiatives, a number of projects are nearing completion. Read more

March 04, 2018

With both population growth and traffic congestion on the rise, construction of mega transit projects is necessary in Saudi Arabia’s densely populated cities. A number of projects are nearing completion and will support economic growth and Transit Oriented Development (TOD). The future of Saudi cities will be redefined because of these new transport sector initiatives.

Jeddah, Makkah, and Medina will benefit from the completion of two projects – the New King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah (May 2018) and the Haramain High Speed Railway (2018). These two projects will create new job opportunities in relation to the management and operations of airport and metro. In addition, the improvement of tourism infrastructure will help the Kingdom achieve Vision 2030’s goal of increasing the annual pilgrimage number to 30 million by 2030. Infrastructure will also boost tourism revenues by improving hospitality performance and delivering new retail opportunities.

The construction of Riyadh metro is currently 68% completed and trials are expected to begin mid-2018. Riyadh metro will likely create new commercial hubs and TOD opportunities for sites adjacent to the metro stations – improving city livability and walkability. Metro stations will be diverse ranging from elevated to underground, transferable versus singular, and iconic versus normal stations. There are four iconic stations, expected to have the highest footfall due to their locations, in densely populated areas and intersections of multiple metro lines. These are the Olaya, King Abdullah Financial District, Western, and Qasr Hukum stations.

With increasing energy prices and traffic congestion, Riyadh’s metro usage is expected to be high with daily users expected to include families, students, commuters, and tourists. The removal of the ban on women driving (June 2018) and the metro’s completion (mid-2019) are both expected to heavily impact employment of private/family drivers in Riyadh.

Additionally, the northern SAR railway, which currently runs between Riyadh, Qassim, and Hail, is expected to start routes to Jouf and Qurayyat in 2018. A number of retailers including F&B and support services have expressed interest in leasing space in SAR stations. The operation of mega transport projects in the Kingdom, will provide a big boost to the national economy. These projects will create new commercial hubs TOD opportunities and new jobs as well as supporting passenger mobility, and improving city livability. With population growth expected to increase, completion of these and other major infrastructure projects will help achieve city ambitions and the redefinition of urban life in Saudi cities.

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