Jeddah makes headway with city-wide public transport plan

A leading UK architecture practice has been appointed to develop an £8bn public transport system for Jeddah in Saudi Arabia that will include the metro, ferry, bus and cycle networks and interchanges.

Foster + Partners signed a contract on Monday to design a long-term blueprint for the city’s transport infrastructure after winning an international design competition.

The Jeddah Public Transport Programme (JPTP) will consist of a three-line metro and light rail system, bus network, marine ferries and taxis, a tramway, around 46 stations, and park and ride facilities.

In addition, the development of the metro system will create new public spaces for the city of Jeddah at key locations below the elevated railway tracks.

In 2013 Jeddah’s ministers approved the infrastructure plan and according to officials it is expected to be up and running by 2022.

“Designed in response to the local climate, the master plan is city-wide and draws on the high-density, compact urban model of the ancient quarter of Al Balad, with its mixture of uses and comfortable, walkable shaded streets, the firm said.

“Currently only 12 per cent of the population live within a 10 minute walk of Jeddah’s transport nodes – the project aims to achieve 50 per cent, through a process of densification and strategic planning.

“Each station node will create a new neighbourhood, with a unique character, and together these will create a diverse and vibrant city.”

The London-based firm is the third to take part in Jeddah’s public transport project, along with engineering firm Aecom and French railway engineering company Systra.

Jeddah is Saudi Arabia’s second-largest city after the capital Riyadh and will host the world’s tallest building – currently under construction.

Foster + Partners is also known for its “cycling utopia” proposed for London last year to build a network of elevated pathways above London’s transport system to create safe, car-free cycling lanes.

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