By Angela Giuffrida
Parsons Brinckerhoff is to masterplan developments on land around the Dubai Metro.
Parsons Brinckerhoff has been appointed by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to undertake a major study of vacant sites for development close to planned Dubai Metro stations.
The RTA has earmarked 16 sites for potential ‘community' developments in key areas that will form part of the Red and Green lines.
These include two sites in Al Rashidiya, as well as sites in Al Twar, Hor Al Anz, Jumeirah Islands, Jebel Ali Village, and the Dubai World Trade Centre and Union Square interchanges. All of the sites are owned by the RTA.
Parsons will use the relatively new Transit Oriented Development (TOD) concept to carry out a detailed study into developing the sites for mixed-use communities.
"There are a number of vacant sites along the Red and Green lines that are ripe for development, which will give the Dubai Metro project an extra lease of life," said Amer Khan, business development associate (manager, transport and urban planning - Middle East), Parsons Brinckerhoff.
"The RTA has asked us to develop a TOD masterplan. The idea is to redevelop the site into a mixed-use development, which will also accommodate bus and taxi facilities to complement the metro.
"We will be looking into population density around the stations and how to best plan the development to enable the metro to be used to its optimum.
"We will also look into maximising the retail concept within each station to make them more vibrant, similar to other metro systems around the world," he added.
The RTA will either sell or lease the sites to developers over the next year, starting with the smaller plots first.
"The metro is an opportunity to leverage the site itself - provided it's master-planned and developed in the most appropriate manner. This could also help to fund the cost of the metro project."
Khan added that the TOD concept and Dubai Metro could complement each other to generate better returns, and that there is greater scope for TOD across the region.
"For the less developed cities within the GCC there's a greater opportunity to put a TOD planning system in place."