A senior Abu Dhabi official says the emirate will start work on mass transportation projects soon.

Speaking at a briefing on 4 September, Mohammed al-Mubarak, the chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, the chairman of Miral – which is developing theme parks on Yas Island – and CEO of Aldar Properties, said “mass transportation is coming soon”, and the plans include the light rail transit [LRT] and SkyTran people mover system for which Miral signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for in July 2016. 

Al-Mubarak’s comments indicate that Abu Dhabi keen to implement new infrastructure projects to help it deliver its diversification objectives.

Aside from the boost that capital spending will bring to the construction sector, a mass transportation system will also support other sectors that Abu Dhabi is developing, such as tourism. Over the past decade many new hotels and resorts have been built across the emirate, and the focus is now switching to developing more attractions such as theme parks. As these projects are built, they will need to be connected to make them work.

There have been signs of early progress on the LRT scheme this year. Abu Dhabi’s Department of Municipality and Transport (DMAT) is understood to be preparing tender documents for the funding and advisory packages for the emirate’s planned metro and light rail transit networks, according to sources with knowledge of the schemes.

The tenders could be released before end of 2017 and the study could take between one to two years, after which, tendering for construction work could start.

For the SkyTran, the elevated people move system will be developed for Yas Island to connect its various attractions, and it could be extended further. “We [Miral] launched earlier on Yas Island the SkyTran, which is an energy efficient sustainable mass transportation within island of Yas which can always expand to other places within the emirate of Abu Dhabi or into Dubai potentially,” said Al-Mubarak.

It could be a good time for Abu Dhabi to build mass transportation schemes. Over the past decade much of its project spending has been on the $20bn nuclear project, and to a lesser extent the airport. As those two schemes approach completion the spending on those projects can be diverted to new schemes such as the LRT.