By Amy Glass
$1.1bn tram project will span 19 stations along Al Safooh Road and link several key locations within city.
The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) on Tuesday launched Dubai's first tram system, a 14-kilometre network connecting several key locations within the city.
The 4 billion-dirham ($1.1 billion) tram project will span 19 stations along Al Safooh Road, linking the Madinat Jumeirah and Mall of the Emirates with Dubai Marina and the Jumeirah Beach Residence.
Mattar Al-Tayer, executive director at the RTA, said the Al Safooh tram project is part of the authority's intention to provide mass transit systems - including metro, tram, bus, and marine transport - by 2020.
The Al Safooh tram will interconnect with the Red Line of the Dubai Metro at three stations along Sheikh Zayed Road. The tram will also interlink with the monorail of the Palm Jumeirah at the entry point of the Palm on Al Safooh Road.
The system also covers areas including Knowledge Village, Dubai Media City (DMC) and Dubai Internet City (DIC), as well as other projects under construction, he said.
Demographic surveys, population density estimates and manpower distribution along the tram path revealed that these locations are inhabited by 180,000 residents, 210,000 workers, and 20,000 visitors, he said.
"Population density coupled with the nature of activities in the area highlight the importance of having a tram network in place… this step will be followed with a series of similar transit modes spanning across densely populated areas of the emirate in the future," Al-Tayer said.
The contract for the tram's design and construction has been awarded to an international consortium including Alstom, Besix, Serco and Parsons, he added.
The tram will not require overhead electrical cables since it will be supplied with electricity through a ground cable system.
Each tram car can accommodate 300 passengers and will feature a first class coach and an area only for women and children.
Al-Tayer did not disclose when the trams would be fully operational or when construction would begin.
Just what we needed, a tram to occupy a whole lane in our already congested road networks.
Isn't the point to get as much traffic off the roads, thereby making them less congested?