(MENAFN - Arab News) The approval of the Council of Ministers on Monday of the implementation of the Public Transport Project (PTP) in Riyadh came after the High Authority for the Development of Riyadh (HADR) had formulated a comprehensive plan.
This plan stipulated the establishment of road networks for public transport using buses and electric trains. The authority also completed the engineering designs, technical specifications and blueprints for the two projects.
In the first phase of the plan a rail network would be constructed on the axis of King Abdullah Road with a length of 17 kilometer. It would start from King Khaled Road on the west to Khaled bin Al-Waleed street to the east, and include 11 stations. The network would also run on the axis of Al-Olaya-Al-Batha Street with a length of 25 kilometer, extending from the northern to the southern ring road. When the train would reach its final destination at the headquarters of the department of public transport it would have passed 25 stations.
This phase would also include the establishment of a road network for buses covering the entire city to ensure people with safe transport.
The bus network would complement that of the train and would be established on four levels. It would consist of a nucleus network for high-capacity buses, circular networks to provide transport around the downtown area by medium-capacity buses. A secondary network would service medium to low capacity vehicles and a local network would provide public transport on the cluster of roads of the various districts.
The authority had earlier revealed that the economic feasibility of the PTP in the city would exceed the cost of its construction and operation by more than threefold. The annual economic returns of the plan were expected to be more than SR8 billion. The plan would also provide more than 450,000 direct and indirect job opportunities during the time of its execution.
The implementation of the plan would also make big gains for the city and its residents going beyond traffic, architectural, social, health and environmental aspects to feasible economic gains. According to the studies conducted by the authority, the plan would cut down the daily car journeys by more than 2.2 million trips every day and would reduce the distance driven daily on the road networks by more than 30 million kilometer. Once implemented, the plan would save more than 800,000 hours now being wasted on roads every day.
The plan would reduce the fuel consumption in the city by more than 620 million liters annually. It would improve traffic safety by avoiding more than 13,500 accidents every year. At the same time the annual cost of these accidents would be saved, equal to about SR400 million.
The use of public transport would save an amount of SR1.46 billion which was the annual cost of operating vehicles. It would also save about SR5.4 billion of the cost of annual car trips. The plan would reduce the adverse effects of congestion by about SR2.1 billion in addition to SR693 million per year for air pollution.
The PTP aimed at establishing a permanent transport system in the city catering to the needs and requirements of the residents. It would increase daily trips by public transport from the current two percent to more than 20 percent in the future.
The plan would also deal with the continuous population growth. Riyadh has at present 5.3 million inhabitants, and is expected to grow to 8.3 million by the year 2025. The city now covers an area of 1,200 square kilometer and is expected to grow along with its population. The PTP has taken this expansion into consideration.