GCC cities will need an additional 1,100 km of metro systems by 2030, estimated to cost nearly $220 billion, global consultancy firm Strategy& said in a new report.

The cities currently have 400 km and will need the expansion of metro tracks to meet the growing population demand.

As of 2022, Dubai and Doha have 90 km and 76 km of operational metro system tracks, respectively. 

Riyadh is planning to launch a 176 km metro system by 2024. Saudi Arabia will need an extra capital investment of $34 billion by 2030 in addition to the $40 billion already spent.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi began electric bus trials in 2019 and has outlined plans for a 131 km metro system by 2030.

Although the cost is significant, a properly implemented and funded metro system can generate three to four times in direct and indirect socioeconomic benefits.

“If cities were to build the additional roughly 1,100 km of metro rail required by 2030, they could realise direct and indirect socio-economic benefits worth around $700 billion over a 20-year period,” said Mark Haddad, Partner with Strategy& Middle East. 

Ensuring that current and future metro systems achieve such returns requires a framework based on four pillars that rest upon four foundational elements. These will help cities realise the anticipated returns and implement a metro system in a cost-efficient and effective manner. 

The four pillars are clear objectives, integrated planning, high-quality service & customer-centric experience and commercial mindset.

These four pillars of the implementation framework rest on four elements: effective governance; policies and incentives to support transit adoption; funding throughout system development, launch and early operations and local capabilities that enable effective long-term management.

Ruggero Moretto, Principal with Strategy& Middle East, stated that properly implemented and managed metro systems could create long-term socioeconomic returns, promote sustainability, and improve the quality of life for residents.

(Editing by Seban Scaria seban.scaria@lseg.com)