Ultra-modern transport system for Abu Dhabi

Filed on September 25, 2007

ABU DHABI ó Abu Dhabi is all set to come up with an ultra-modern transport system, necessitated by the fact that the capitalís population is set to rise to 3 million by 2030.

The Governmentís Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, which is also known as the Urban Structure Framework Plan, deals with the actual traffic issues. The main goal is to improve every possible aspect in order to turn traffic congestion into something inexistent.

The plan consists of 10 basic statements and is mainly focused on public transportation plans and housing in the city of Abu Dhabi.

Transit network

According to the plan, a well-conceived transit network will help guide and phase development as Abu Dhabiís population increases to 3.1 million by year 2030. The plan aims to minimise traffic congestion on the streets and to provide sufficient parking as well as to offer alternative travel choices.

A city of more than 3 million inhabitants requires a developed transit system. When it comes to the transportation scheme itís supposed to offer Abu Dhabi an efficient and list of components.

Rail line

The first one is a high speed rail line, originating from the Central Souq train station, connecting the downtown to the Capital District, Airport, and ultimately to Dubai. A freight rail line will operate in the same right-of-way, connecting the new port airport, and Jebel Ali with the other GCC countries.

ďThe city needs at least two high capacity metro lines. One of those would have spurs originating on Saadiyat Island and Al Mina turning left at Central Station to follow the Airport District, Capital District, and Raha beach. The other line would cross the downtown from east to west, connecting Al Reem and Al Suwwah to the Central Station and the Marina Mall,Ē the plan explains.

The next step, the plan continues, is a fine-grained network of surface light rail, streetcars and buses that will ensure that no one ever has to walk more than five minutes to use public transit. The generous boulevards of Abu Dhabi provide ample space for median light rail or dedicated transit lanes for street cars or buses.

Promote walking

Finally, since walking is inescapable even with the most advanced transit planning in the world, a top priority is to improve the streetscapes while maximising pedestrian safety and comfort. This will imply increasing the width of sidewalks, adding shade trees as well as shading devices and to carefully design the entire public realm.

The establishment of two city centres, one in the downtown area of Abu Dhabi Island and the other in the new Capital District will facilitate balanced traffic flow in two directions, minimising congestion.

The city will also need a layered transportation network when the population reaches three million. This will significantly reduce the number of cars on the road, creating a better experience for those who are driving.

The transportation network should include a high-speed Lane separating different destinations. Accompanying this measure there will also be a local metro rail, a freight rail, a surface network of buses, street cars and light rail and finally, a fine grain of interconnected streets.

The possibilities to walk have to be increased, so as to motivate people to walk, especially when it comes to short distances.

It is said that to create a successful traffic system, some of the existing streets have to be reconfigured by carefully designing new ones in order to provide more space for pedestrians as well as more transit options.

The sidewalks will have to be wider and other additional options such as bus-only lanes, street cars, express lanes, and light rail medians could also make their appearance in the new construction if they are demanded.

While constructing all this, the plan is to protect and enhance the natural resources and cultural heritage of Abu Dhabi while at the same time integrating nature and humanity.

One of the ideas is to provide a variety of inter-connected transportation choices as alternatives to the automobile (transit, ferries, buses, bicycle and pedestrian pathways). The point is to prioritise and enhance the pedestrian realm (e.g. short blocks, wide and shaded sidewalks, medians, shaded seating at bus stops and active streets). There is a will to avoid highway and freeway expansion by providing an inter-connected multiple route transportation network that would include many small streets permitting more traffic.

The idea is to provide a layered, inter-connected public transportation network based on fast train links between Abu Dhabi city, Abu Dhabi International airport and Dubai so as to interconnect them to the CBD.

Bus system

The plan features the idea to create a local bus system that will eliminate congestion, or at least, minimise it as much as possible.

The use of ferries will be proclaimed as to reduce congestion. The plan aims to attract a great variety of people, including high and middle income earners, business people, and women, as well as lower Income earners.


When it comes to the issue of parking, it will be reconsidered and studied very carefully in order to offer a larger amount of parking spaces. This concept will also be applied to the CBD area. The plan intends to limit congestion.

Nowadays, the boulevards running through Abu Dhabi have the virtue of distributing traffic evenly through the core allowing congestion on one street to dissipate through the grid.

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