Dubai: Tram system through E311? Firm unveils plans for world's greenest highway

The estimated cost of the project is $10 billion and it would have about 25 tram stations


Sahim Salim

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Published: Tue 9 Jul 2024, 11:54 AM

Last updated: Tue 9 Jul 2024, 9:43 PM

A Dubai-based urban planning and development firm has unveiled plans for a tram project that cuts through one of the busiest highways in the Emirate: Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Road (E311). The 64km corridor would be greened with 1 million trees and feature “urban farms and gardens”.

The ‘Dubai Green Spine’ is currently in the concept stage and “remains a vision”, the chief executive of the firm behind the project told Khaleej Times. “No formal presentation has been made to authorities yet,” said Baharash Bagherian, CEO of URB.

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The estimated cost of the project is $10 billion and it would have about 25 tram stations. If greenlit, it can be completed in four phases over 10 years. “The project will cover a 64-kilometre stretch from Dubai Industrial City to Muhaisnah,” said Bagherian.

The trams would be 100 per cent solar-powered, supported by a 300-megawatt solar energy system.

Touted to be a central feature of the Green Spine, the tramway would incorporate solar panels directly into the tracks. “This not only provides a constant source of power to the tram network but also reduces the need for extensive overhead power lines, maintaining the aesthetic integrity of the corridor.”

The project’s estimated output is sufficient to power approximately 130,000 homes in Dubai.

Green walking, cycling tracks

The project would feature pedestrian paths and cycling tracks that are lined with native flora, “offering natural cooling and cleaner air”.

Additionally, the Green Spine would include mixed-use assets that blend residential community amenities, commercial, and leisure spaces.

“Adopting a more human-centric approach means prioritising people and green spaces over cars … This initiative promotes sustainable modes of transport and community zones over traditional car-dominated roads, thus enhancing the quality of urban life,” said the URB chief.

The company said the project would introduce urban agriculture initiatives like vertical farms and community allotments that let residents grow their own food.

Taking cue from the April 16 rains and subsequent flooding, the company said the project would incorporate “sustainable urban drainage systems, including porous surfaces that absorb rainwater”.

“This design reduces the risk of flooding, even during heavy rainfall, by efficiently managing stormwater. The incorporation of these eco-friendly drainage solutions ensures the infrastructure remains functional and safe.”

Elevated parks would boast playgrounds, outdoor fitness areas, sports facilities, and community gardens.

URB has previously unveiled plans for other ambitious projects like ‘Dubai Mangroves’ that envisions planting more than 100 million mangrove trees; Dubai Reefs, a sustainable floating community for marine research, regeneration and ecotourism; and ‘The Loop’, a 93-km climate-controlled cycle highway around Dubai. Most of these are still in the research and development (R&D) phase.


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