Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transport is planning to build a rail network serving the city of Al-Ain in the emirate’s Eastern Region.

The recently awarded Surface Transport Masterplan (STMP) study for the city involve preparing plans for either a tram or a metro network, say sources close to the project.

Al-Ain Vehicles 2008
Light Vehicles 131,178
Heavy trucks 8,283
Buses 2,254
Mecahnical vehicles 3,337
Motor cycles 807
Total 145,859
Source: Statistics Centre – Abu Dhabi

A consortium of the Abu Dhabi office of Aurecon together with the UK’s Arup and Canada’s IBI Group was awarded the study in early May (MEED 9:5:10).

The study will map out the future development of transport and infrastructure in Al-Ain region up until 2020 and will be carried out in phases.

The plan consists of two main phases, including short-term and long-term solutions.

The short-term solutions include assessing traffic lights, roundabouts and parking issues and these are expected to be implemented as soon as possible.

The long-term plan will involve building a metro or tram network to transport people around the city. The masterplan will also involve building a passenger railway and a freight railway, which will eventually link up with the UAE’s $11bn national rail network and will also make travelling across the border to Oman much easier. The plan will also have to take into account future developments in the area and Al-Ain’s physical constraints such as the Jebel Hafeet and the wadis.

The plan will also seek to enhance existing roads and propose new roads where required.

The study is expected to be completed by the end of April 2011.

While the Al-Ain masterplan will have its own budget, the rail component will be part of Abu Dhabi’s $68bn surface transport masterplan.

Once the study is complete, Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transport will invite firms to bid for the preliminary concept and design contract.

The transport infrastructure of Al-Ain needs upgrading to accommodate the expansion of the city and a population that is expected to reach over one million by 2020.