Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Department of Transport has started work on the design of a Metro and light-rail transit system after the Executive Council approved funding for the projects, a spokesman for the department said.
The Abu Dhabi Metro, which will extend approximately 131 km and be supported by tram and bus feeder networks, is set to be operational by 2016-17.
Besides serving the projected increase in the capital's population and relieving congestion, the Metro will mainly connect the proposed Central Business District with Sowwah Island, Reem Island, Saadiyat Island, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi International Airport and Masdar, the Capital City District, Emerald Gateway, Zayed Sports City and Adnec.
According to the spokesman, 18 km of the Metro lines and 40 km of the light-rail transit system will be designed in the first phase of the project.
Most of the proposed network is expected to be underground. A fully grade separated rail line will serve Central Station, North Island, Al Wahda, Adnec, and Zayed Sports City.
The monorail track (which is part of the Metro project) is expected to be 40km long. Each station is expected to handle 1,000 commuters. The monorail might also include 15 two-coach trains at five-minute intervals between service trains.
The Abu Dhabi Metro would be linked to the Dubai Metro and other cities in the UAE and to other GCC states.
The Department of Transport estimated the annual cost of time spent in congested traffic in the capital at Dh2.5 billion by 2015, which is expected to increase to Dh5.9 billion by 2030.
The recommended public transport network for the capital is meant to serve 823,000 new daily commuters and eliminate 400,000 daily road trips after making 105,000 auto-mobiles redundant by 2030.
The network will save nearly Dh3.8 billion in travel time costs and 102 million hours of travel time per year.
It is estimated that it will also eliminate 23,000 accidents, saving Dh414 million annually.
The network will also help reduce 22,050 tonnes of carbon monoxide, 4,450 tonnes of nitrogen oxide and 2,305 tonnes of emissions annually.