More than 110,000 people, which is nearly ten percent of Dubai’s population used the country’s metro during its first two days of operation. Built in 2009, the fully automated rail network has been divided into the Red and Green Line with future scope for a further three lines as well as the Red Line's extension. In February it was finalised that the augmentation would be fully operational five months before Expo2020 opens in May 2020. The international exhibition for commerce and is expected to see 25 million users on Dubai's metro. To facilitate the future demand as well as making the necessary improvements on the eight year old line, Thales has just won the €2.6 billion project. Alstom, the leader of the Expolink consortium and Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority selected the French multinational to deliver the line’s extension and upgrade. As the pioneers for communications-based train control (CBTC), Thales will look to increase Dubai's metro capacity whilst improving its safety and efficiency.
In 2015 Dubai confirmed that the Metro system would be further extended by 14.5 kilometres, a route termed ‘Route 2020’. Approved by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the new line will branch out from Nakheel Harbour and Tower station to the Expo 2020 site near Al Maktoum International Airport. Dubai Metro since it first opened in 2009 and is the longest fully automated metro network in the world with a total route length of 75 kilometres. Running across two lines, the daily ridership has climbed to an average of 377,000. The new route will stretch the total network of Dubai Metro to 90km, while the entire rail network, including the Dubai Tram, will extend to 101km.
Route 2020 will pass through several densely populated localities and industrial zones on its way to the Expo 2020 site, including Discovery Gardens, Dubai Investment Park, Furjan and Jumeirah Golf Estates. With a major section of the new route running along Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road, 10.5km of the extension will be elevated, while four kilometres will be underground. Of the seven stations, five will be elevated and two will be underground, while one more station will be built but will not be operational.
Thales’ ground transportation solutions have been in service on the Dubai metro for the last seven years. They include driverless train signalling systems, the control centre, integrated supervision and communications the control centre, integrated supervision and communications, passengers’ services, security and revenue collection systems. The ultra-modern Red Line is a mostly overhead metro running alongside the city’s main Sheikh Zayed Road, an urban highway prone to gridlock during rush hours, has succeeded in the space of a few years in easing the city’s traffic congestion. But since 2009, passenger numbers have been increasing continuously.
Thales’ upgrade and extension will:
- Include the latest signalling, integrated supervision, security, passengers’ services, telecommunications and fare collection technologies for the 15 km extension.
- Deploy a full range of solutions for the extension of the Dubai metro's Red Line and upgrade of its systems.
- Provide a state-of-the-art driverless train signalling technology as well as integrated supervision, telecommunications, passengers’ services, security and fare collection systems. These innovative solutions aredesigned to optimise energy consumption, smooth passenger flows and improve IT connectivity.
- Improve urban mobility, provide the latest enhancements to the solutions already in service and equip 50 new trains provided by Expolink consortium. One of the challenges will be to complete the project without disruption to the metro’s 20-hour-a-day operation on the existing line.
This latest project is a major milestone in the urban transport system of the futuristic city, which is considered particularly innovative for the transport sector. It is hoped to contribute to Dubaï’s objective to become the “smartest” city in the world.
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