King Abdulaziz Project for Riyadh Public Transport

In Jumada II, 1433H (December 2011), the cabinet approved all phases of the public transport project in Riyadh (metro & buses) based on the related studies conducted by the Royal Commission for Riyadh City in cooperation with the concerned authorities to find comprehensive solutions to the traffic congestion problem in Riyadh city.

High Supervisory Committee

Meeting of the High Supervisory Committee chaired by HRH Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz

Meeting of the High Supervisory Committee chaired by HRH Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz

Pursuant to the cabinet decision, a high committee was formed to supervise the project.

Soon after its formation, the committee started to outline the project phases, scope of work and schedule based on the results of studies, designs and execution plans prepared by the Royal Commission for Riyadh City.

Comprising a metro network and a parallel bus network, the public transport project in Riyadh city is being established according to the comprehensive plan for public transport developed by the Royal Commission for Riyadh City. This plan aims at providing all population groups with suitable public transport services, diversifying the transportation means in the city effectively and appropriately, in addition to keeping the use of private cars within the minimum limits.

The project will be of great benefit to Riyadh traffic, economy, society and environment. Moreover, it will provide the city with a giant public transport system to meet its existing and future needs.

(1) Riyadh Metro Project

Artistic vision of Riyadh Metro

Artistic vision of Riyadh Metro

The metro network constitutes the backbone of the public transport system in Riyadh. With six lines at a total length of 176 km and 85 metro stations, the metro network will cover most of the densely populated areas, public facilities, and the educational, commercial and medical institutions. The network will be connected to King Khalid International Airport and King Abdullah Financial District, main universities, downtown and the public transport center.

The six metro lines are as follows:

  • The first line (blue line): axis of Al-Olaya – Al-Batha – Al-Hayer roads, with a total length of 38 km.
  • The second line (red line): axis of King Abdullah Road, with a total length of 25.3 km.
  • The third line (orange line): axis of Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah Road – Prince Saad Bin Abdurrahman I Road, with a total length of 40.7 km.
  • The fourth line (yellow line): axis of King Khalid International Airport Road, with a total length of 29.6 km.
  • The fifth line (green line): axis of King Abdulaziz Road, with a total length of 12.9 km.
  • The sixth line (violet line): axis of Abdurrahman Bin Awf Road – Sheikh Hassan Bin Hussain Bin Ali Road, with a total length of 30 km.

Design and Specifications

The latest technologies were incorporated into the metro network design. The trains will run automatically (without a driver). Central control rooms will be used to operate and monitor trains with high precision.

Specifications of metro cars have included the world’s latest technologies. The cars can be separated internally to accommodate different service classes in addition to the family class. The cars also support the communication and information exchange services.

To give the Riyadh metro project a unique identity, a unified design for all trains was prepared, and the winning consortia were required to follow this design.

Stations

Design of a Riyadh Metro Station on the Eastern Ring Road

Design of a Riyadh Metro Station on the Eastern Ring Road

The Riyadh metro stations were designed according to a unified architectural pattern to give the project a unique identity. Intended to provide the passengers with safety and comfort, all stations will be air-conditioned, equipped with passenger information system and provide internet access. Some selected stations will include shops and car parks.

The stations will make use of solar cells technology to save about 20% of the power required for air-conditioning and lightening.

Main Stations

Location map of the Riyadh metro main stations

Location map of the Riyadh metro main stations

The Riyadh metro project includes four main stations. Located in highly populated areas and at the intersections of metro lines and bus network, the main stations are among the key factors contributing to the success of the Riyadh city public transport system. They will provide many support services such as parking lots, ticket outlets, shops, and customer service offices.

The project also includes five stations serving as transit stops between different metro lines, and integrate with the bus network. They aim at facilitating the movement of the passengers among the different levels of the public transport network in Riyadh.

The Royal Commission for Riyadh City has organized an architectural competition and invited the most prominent architectural offices and companies to provide their innovative designs for the main four metro stations.

Riyadh Metro Main Stations:

1- Qasr Al-Hukm District Station

Qasr Al-Hukm Station - exterior design

Qasr Al-Hukm Station – exterior design

Snohetta from Norway has won the competition to design the Qasr Al-Hukm district station downtown Riyadh. The station will serve as interchange between metro line 1 (axis of Al-Olaya – Al-Batha Roads) and metro line 3 (axis of Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah Road – Prince Saad Bin Abdurrahman I Road). It covers an area of 19,600 m².

2- King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) Metro Station

KAFD Station - exterior design

KAFD Station – exterior design

Zaha Hadid Architects from the UK has won the competition to design King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) metro station. The station is located at the east of the Northern Ring Road and slightly west of King Fahd Road. It will serve as a major interchange between metro lines 1, 4 and 6, in addition to being linked to KAFD’s monorail. The station covers an area of 8.150 m².

3- Western Metro Station

Western Station - exterior design

Western Station – exterior design

Omrania & Associates has won the competition to design the western metro station. Covering an area of 12,500 m², the station will be built on the land currently used for the Central Vegetable Market of Al-Suwaidi Al-Gharbi district. It will link the third metro line with the bus route overlooking Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdullatif Street. This station will include a metro station and bus station in addition to a parking area with a capacity of 1000 cars.

Park and Ride

location map of the Park & Ride sites

location map of the Park & Ride sites

About 21 Park & Ride locations with a capacity ranging from 200 to 600 cars per each were dedicated to facilitate the use of the metro network. These locations are well-distributed throughout the city to make it easy for the people to switch between their private cars and metro.

Safety and security system

The project will meet all safety and security requirements for passengers and facilities; all metro cars and stations will be provided with advanced surveillance systems, which include surveillance cameras and early warning systems, firefighting systems, tunnel safety systems and a communication system that supports real-time communication with the Control & Operation Center and the competent security authorities.

Fleet parking and Maintenance Centers

The Riyadh Metro project includes the establishment of seven parking & maintenance centers, which include workshops for regular maintenance, offices for the staff and parking areas for the metro train fleet, as well as control centers.

Control and Operation Centers

The project includes the construction of five advanced centers to operate, control and monitor the metro lines, trains, stations and other project facilities.

Power Sources

Image of a power plant

Image of a power plant

The electric power needed by the Riyadh Metro Project was estimated at 468 MVA. Thanks to coordination between the Royal Commission for Riyadh City and the Saudi Electricity Company, it was decided that the optimal method to provide the project with electricity is to provide each metro line with power from two independent sources. In other words, there will be 12 main power plants to feed the project, of which 4 plants with a capacity of 389/33K will be built from scratch for that reason. The other 8 plants are already in service but their capacity will be expanded. These power plants will be connected to the network via land cables with a total length of 84 km.

Prequalification & Technical and Financial Evaluation

Part of the proposals submitted for Riyadh Metro Project

Part of the proposals submitted for Riyadh Metro Project

Earlier, the Royal Commission for Riyadh City prequalified four international consortia for the Riyadh metro project competition. Their technical and financial proposals were examined and evaluated by a specialized team from the RCRC supported by 80 experts from all over the world. The evaluation process ended with choosing the best technical and financial offers.

The RCRC has awarded the design and construction contracts for Riyadh metro project to three consortiums: BACS, Arriyadh New Mobility (ANM) and FAST, which comprise 20 international companies.

Launching of Riyadh Metro Project

HRH Prince Khalid Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz signs a letter of awarding with one of the winning consortiums

HRH Prince Khalid Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz signs a letter of awarding with one of the winning consortiums

On 20 Ramadhan 1434H (28 July 2013), HRH prince Khalid Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz, former Chairman of the High Committee Supervising the Riyadh Public Transport Project, patronized the awarding ceremony of the Riyadh Metro contracts. The ceremony was held at the Culture Palace in the Diplomatic Quarter, and was attended by senior officials, businessmen, journalists and ambassadors of the states.

The ceremony witnessed the awarding of metro contracts to the BACS, ANM and FAST consortiums as follows:

  • The Blue Line (axis of Al-Olaya – Al-Batha roads) was awarded to BACS consortium.
  • The Red Line (axis of King Abdullah Road) was awarded to BACS consortium.
  • The Orange Line (axis of Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah Road – Prince Saad Bin Abdurrahman I Road) was awarded to ANM consortium.
  • The Yellow Line (axis of King Khalid International Airport Road) was awarded to FAST consortium.
  • The Green Line (axis of King Abdulaziz Road) was awarded to FAST consortium.
  • The Violet Line (axis of Abdurrahman Bin Awf Road – Sheikh Hassan Bin Hussain Bin Ali Road) was awarded to FAST consortium.
  • Construction of Al-Olaya and King Abdullah Financial District metro stations was awarded to BACS consortium.
  • The BACS consortium includes Bechtel, Almabani General Contractors, Consolidated Contractors Company, Siemens Aktiengesellschaft and AECOM.
  • The Arriyadh New Mobility (ANM) consortium includes Bombardier, Ansaldo STS, Impregilo SPA, Larsen & Toubro Limited, Nesma & Partners, Hyder Consulting, IDOM and Worley Parsons Arabia.
  • FAST consortium includes FCC Construction SA, Samsung C&T Corporation, Alstom Transport, Strukton Civiel, Freyssinet Saudi Arabia, Tecnica Y Proyectos and SETEC.

(2) Riyadh Bus Project

Map of Riyadh Buses network

Map of Riyadh Buses network

Bus network will be the main feeder of the Riyadh metro network. It will also be the main mean of transportation within and among Riyadh districts. The bus routes were chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Integration with the metro network.
  • Compatibility with the city’s architectural plans and future expansions.
  • Linking the business and commercial centers to Riyadh districts.
  • Reduction of car traffic on the roads and streets.
  • Curtailment of the environmental pollution and energy consumption.
  • Minimization of the time wasted in traffic.

Bus Network

Bus network levels

Bus network levels

The bus network was designed to provide transportation service at different levels:

  • First Level: a highly-efficient axial network
  • Second Level: a supporting circle network
  • Third Level: a secondary arterial network
  • Fourth Level: a local network inside the residential districts

Accordingly, the bus network lines were divided into four levels as follows:

First Level: Lines with dedicated (bus-only) lanes.

This level includes the following bus lines with 103 stations, as follows:

  • Al-Kharj Road, its north extension Salahuddin Al-Ayoubi Road, and then King Abdulaziz Road until its intersection with Prince Saud Bin Muhammad Bin Miqrin Road, with a total length of 42 km.
  • Hamzah Bin Abdulmuttalib Road, Dirab Road and Prince Muhammad Bin Abdurrahman Road, with a total length of 23.5 km.
  • Khalid Bin Al-Waleed Street from its intersection with Imam Saud Bin Abdulaziz Bin Muhammad Road to its intersection with Khurais Road, and Imam Al-Shafe’i Street to its intersection with prince Saad Bin Abdurrahman I Road. The total length of this line is 12 km.

Second level: Circle lines.

This level serves the city’s main residential centers. It includes two main lines with a total length of 83 km and features 67 stations. The two main lines are:

  • Imam Saud Bin Abdulaziz Bin Muhammad Road, Prince Turki Bin Abdulaziz I Road, King Saud Road, Omar Bin Al-Khattab, Salahuddin Al-Ayoubi Road and King Abdulaziz Road, with a total length of 37.4 km.
  • Khalid Bin Al-Walid Road, Imam Saud Bin Abdulaziz Bin Muhammad Road, King Abdulaziz Road, Salahuddin Al-Ayoubi Road, Prince Saad Bin Abdurrahman I Road and Imam Al-Shafe’i Road, with a total length of 45.8 km.

Third level: Ordinary lines.

This level connects the Riyadh city residential neighborhoods with each other. It includes 17 lines with a total length of 444 km. Below are some of its main roads:

  • Al-Takhassusi Road
  • Al-Orouba Road
  • Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq Road
  • Omar Bin Abdulaziz Road
  • Othman Bin Affan Road
  • Haroon Al-Rasheed Road
  • Saeed Bin Zaid Road …and others

Fourth level: Feeding Lines.

This level will be inside the residential districts with a total length of 600 km. Most districts of Riyadh will be covered.

Unified Design for Buses

A unified design was approved to create unique identity for the project.

Specifications of Riyadh Buses

Interior design of buses with dedicated lanes

Interior design of buses with dedicated lanes

  • The buses are manufactured utilizing the latest technologies in the market, and meet the international safety standards.
  • The seats are distributed carefully to allow suitable spaces for families and people with special needs.
  • The buses feature a tracking system and a passenger guidance and information system, as well as internal surveillance cameras.
  • The buses are equipped with a unified ticketing system, automatic passenger counting system, and driver performance monitoring system.
  • The buses are environment-friendly as they would run using ultra-low sulfur fuel that meet the EU Standards.

Stations, Park & Ride, and Passenger Service Systems

The bus network project includes four types of stations that match the different network levels in terms of design, capacity and function. It also features a bus tracking system and a passenger guidance and information system which aims at increasing the efficiency of the network operation and providing the passengers with real time updates about their trip and bus schedules. A comprehensive ticketing system for metro and buses that allows the use of a unified ticket at all lines of the Riyadh public transport network will be also available.

To make it more easy for people to use the buses, four Park & Ride sites, with a capacity that ranges from 200 to 600 cars per each, were provided, so that there are a total of 25 Park & Ride sites within the King Abdulaziz Project for Riyadh Public Transport (Metro & Buses).

Parking and Maintenance Centers

Riyadh Bus Project has 3 parking & maintenance centers, which include workshops for regular maintenance, offices for the staff and parking areas for the buss fleet.

Bus Network Phases

Riyadh bus network project phases

Riyadh bus network project phases

The bus network project was divided into three phases, as follows:

Phase One

It covers the southern part of Riyadh city with a total length of 145 km for both normal and dedicated lanes buses.

lines with bus-only lanes covered by this phase are:

  • 1- Old Al-Kharj Road, starting from the Second Industrial City until Prince Saad Bin Abdurrahman I Road.
  • 2- Roads of Hamzah Bin Abdulmuttalib, Dirab, and Prince Muhammad Bin Abdurrahman I.

In addition, this phase also includes 18 ordinary bus lines and other related residential districts lines.

Phase Two

This phase covers the central part of Riyadh city, with a total length of 127 km. It includes the following lines with bus-only lanes:

  • Salahuddin Al-Ayoubi Road from Prince Saad Bin Abdurrahman I Road to King Abdulaziz Road near the entrance to Riyadh Airbase.

In addition, the phase also includes 12 ordinary bus lines and other related residential districts lines.

Phase Three

It covers the remaining bus lines mainly located in the northern part of Riyadh city, with a total length of 175 km. This phase includes the following lines with bus-only lanes:

  • King Abdulaziz Road from Salahuddin Al-Ayoubi Road to Prince Saud Bin Muhammad Bin Miqrin Road.
  • Khalid Bin Al-Waleed Street and Imam Al-Shafe’i Street.

Phase three also covers the following circle lines:

  • Roads of Prince Turki Bin Abdulaziz I, Imam Saud Bin Abdulaziz Bin Muhammad, King Abdulaziz, and Salahuddin Al-Ayoubi.
  • Roads of Prince Saad Bin Abdurrahman I, Salahuddin Al-Ayoubi, King Abdulaziz Road, Imam Saud Bin Abdulaziz Bin Muhammad.

This phase also includes 12 ordinary bus lines and other related residential districts lines.

Launching of Riyadh Bus Project

HRH Prince Turki Bin Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz signs the contract with the winning consortium

HRH Prince Turki Bin Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz signs the contract with the winning consortium

HRH Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz patronized the signing ceremony of a contract worth ‎SR7.8 billion on Thursday (Muharram 27, 1463H – November 20, 2014) with the Saudi ‎Arabian Public Transport Company and France’s Regie Autonome des Transports Parisiens ‎‎(RATP) to supply, operate and maintain the Riyadh Bus network. The project contract is ‎valid for 10 years and two years preceding the commencement of the project for ‎preparatory work.

Control and Operation Center

Public Transport System Control and Operation Center

Public Transport System Control and Operation Center

The Center falls to the west of Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University with a total area of 80,000 m². The Center controls the operation of buses, communicates with the drivers and manages the passenger information system, and tracking system. The center will ensure integration between the metro and bus networks. In addition to the administrative offices, library, training and support rooms, the center will be used to manage the unified automatic ticketing system and monitor security and safety systems.

Line Selection Criteria

The comprehensive transport plan has defined the public transport lines according to the following criteria:

  • Population density and distribution.
  • To serve the main points of interest (POIs) in Riyadh city such as ministries, universities, hospitals, commercial complexes, government facilities, King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh Sub-Centers, Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Center, Riyadh downtown and the Public Transport Center.
  • Results of the traffic simulation models developed by the RCRC to estimate traffic size on the Roads and streets of Riyadh, and know the origins and destinations of traffic trips.
  • Expected number of passengers intending to use a specific mean of public transport on each axis.
  • Duration of the trip on each line of the public transport network.
  • Minimizing the negative impacts such as traffic congestion, high fuel consumption and increased vehicle emissions.

Keeping Up With The Developments

A scene of Riyadh city showing its rapid growth

A scene of Riyadh city showing its rapid growth

The comprehensive transport plan worked on meeting the existing and future transportation needs of Riyadh city and keeping up with its continuous population growth. According to studies carried out by the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, the population of Riyadh is expected to rise from 5.7 million in 1434H (2012) to more than 8.3 million by 1450H with city urban expansion already reached 1297 km²in 1434H (2012), this would mean heavier and longer traffic in the future.