The joint study conducted by RTA and Henley Business School shows that between September 2009 and end of 2016, for every one dirham spent on Dubai Metro, the project has yielded returns of 1.6 dirhams. Image Credit: RTA

Dubai Metro has brought in cumulative benefits of Dh66 billion to Dubai’s economy since its launch on September 9, 2009, a recent study has revealed.

Jointly conducted by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Henley Business School, University of Reading — United Kingdom, the study looked into the world’s largest driverless train network’s far-reaching socio-economic impact on the emirate.

Dubai Metro marks its ninth anniversary Sunday.


Covering the period between September 2009 and the end of 2016, the study analysed both the direct and indirect impact of the Metro — and factored in the internationally-recognised economic indicators in this regard, including the cost-benefit ratio of this mass-transit system.

According to the study, the economic benefits of the Metro have far surpassed the combined capital investment and operational cost of the 75km long network, which stands at Dh41 billion.

A Dubai Metro station on the Green Line. RTA

Dh1.6 benefit for every Dh1 spent on metro

This means that every dirham spent on the Dubai Metro has yielded a return of 1.6 dirhams to the economy of Dubai — and this return is expected to shoot up to 2.5 dirhams and 4.3 dirhams in 2020 and 2030, respectively, with the accumulated benefits going up to Dh115 billion and Dh234 billion for the respective years.

Commenting on the study, Mattar Al Tayer, the Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA, said that the numbers illustrate the huge impact of the Metro on the economy of the emirate.

“At a time when RTA celebrates the ninth anniversary of Dubai Metro, this study underlines Dubai’s keenness to invest in improving and widening its infrastructure, since that is the backbone of driving the competitiveness of cities and countries.

Economic driver

"The infrastructure in general and roads in particular play a massive role in supporting economic, social and tourist activities, boosting the integration of the local economy, and enhancing GDP,” said Al Tayer.

He added that quality of roads and transport infrastructure represent the key measures of global competitiveness.

Rush-hour commute. Gulf News archives

The RTA-Henley study examined the capital and operational costs of the Metro and matched them with the financial benefits of the project in the form of tariff revenues, increase in operational jobs and appreciation in the value of properties in the surroundings of Metro stations.

“Material benefits also include increasing consumer surplus of Metro users (residents, citizens, tourists), raising foreign investment, reducing mobility and vehicle operation costs, curbing carbon emissions, decreasing traffic accidents, cutting road maintenance costs, and boosting employment prospects,” Al Tayer explained.


He added that the results are consistent with the findings of similar global studies, though the cost-benefit ratio varries from one city to another.

The results depend upon the timeline of the studies commissioned, types of benefits covered in the analysis, discount rate applied, and the cost of materials and labour involved.

Comparing Dubai Metro’s cost-benefit ratio of 1.6 with some of the world’s leading metro services, Al Tayer said that the cost-benefit ratio of Athena Metro — Line 4 was estimated at 1.17 in a 30-year study.

In Sweden, the ratio of Stockholm Metro ranged from 6.5 to 8.5 in a study spanning 50 years, and in Ireland, the ratio of Dublin Express Train ranged from 2.1 to 2.7 in a 32-year study.

He stressed that the Dubai Government continues to give paramount importance to investment in infrastructure and developing mass transit systems, resulting in an investment of Dh100 billion in the sector since 2005.

Infrastructure investment

Indicating that the government’s consistent investments on infrastructure and transport have brought substantial rewards, he said: “The sustained improvement of roads, as well as transit systems and transport services witnessed by Dubai since the establishment of the RTA in 2005 have generated savings of as much as Dh125 billion in terms of cost of fuel and time.”

He added that sustained investments have boosted the competitiveness of the emirate as well as that of the UAE, making Dubai a global benchmark for quality of infrastructure.

“The remarkable network of roads in the emirate was instrumental in the UAE achieving Number One ranking in quality of roads worldwide for four years in a row (2014-2017), according to the Global Competitiveness Reports of the World Economic Forum,” said Al Tayer.

Besides its economic benefits, the Dubai Metro has been instrumental in changing the way Dubai moves, triggering social and lifestyle changes.

Al Tayer stressed that although the objectives of the project were focused on developing a public transport system to alleviate congestion and reduce emissions, the Metro has brought in a host of economic, social and environmental benefits. Around 600,000 people use Dubai Metro daily, with 103.29 million passengers travelling by the Metro trains in the first half of this year.

Dubai Metro in numbers

■Since its launch nine years ago, Dubai Metro has transformed the way Dubai moves, quickly becoming the lifeline of the city’s commuters. Accumulated benets of the Metro have far surpassed its cost and are set to exceed by up to four times by 2030.

date on which Dubai Metro was launched

cost of construction and operation of Dubai Metro

economic benefits of the Metro from inception to the end of 2016

cost of roads and transport infrastructure in Dubai

saved by roads network and mass transit systems and services

79 trains
currently serve Dubai Metro

35 trains
to join the network from next year

revenue generated from Metro station naming rights

cost of construction for the 15km long Route2020. 

15 trains
to serve Route 2020. 

total length of Dubai Metro network, including Red and Green Lines

passengers travelled by Dubai Metro in the rst half of this year

average daily ridership

passenger capacity of a Metro train