The Middle East will invest over USD 250bn over a decade in railway projects to manage growing urbanisation trend and millions of visitors expected at Dubai Expo 2020 and 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Ahead of the Expo 2020 due to take place in Dubai and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Middle East countries are investing heavily in public transport projects, especially in rail. The region has allocated over $250bn to various railway projects over the next decade, which will result in 67,000km of railway tracks throughout the region. Current investment in ongoing rail projects reached over $180bn in early 2013 and the most recent estimations suggest the region has approximately 34,000km of completed tracks.
Why such a boom in rail projects?
There are many reasons spurring Middle East countries into investing in rail. First of all, the region is getting prepared to welcome millions of visitors in the upcoming years, starting with the 2.5 million visitors expected at the World Expo 2020 in Dubai followed by its first FIFA World Cup which should attract at least a million football fans to Qatar in 2022.
Further, the MENA region needs to upgrade its urban transport services due to an acceleration in its pace of urbanisation. Almost 60% of its population now lives in cities and already eight of the region’s top cities have more than three million citizens. In rural areas, where populations are generally poorer, expanding transport networks is also a critical issue for the region since people there need affordable means of transport to access markets, health centres, schools and other social and administrative services.
Focus on nine projects
The MENA transport report released this year by the UITP MENA Centre for Transport Excellence gives a complete overview of the recent and ongoing rail projects in the region. Here is a selection of nine of them:
Come to the MENA Transport Congress and Exhibition 2016 and learn more about these developments and other public transport projects of the whole MENA region.
The event will take place in Dubai from 25-27 April 2016.
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