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Riyadh and Jeddah among the most improved cities on the global index for urban mobility readiness
RIYADH: Riyadh and Jeddah are among the world’s most improved cities in terms of urban mobility readiness, according to the latest edition of an annual study of 60 cities.
Riyadh moved up five places, from 54 in 2021 to 49 in 2022, and Jeddah rose from 58 to 51, in the rankings compiled by the Oliver Wyman Forum and the University of California, Berkeley Institute of Transportation Studies.
The report concludes that current large-scale investments in mass transport and innovation mean that the cities are likely to continue to improve their positions.
André Martins, partner India, Middle East and Africa head of transport services and operations at the Oliver Wyman Forum, said: “Due to the resulting growth in both population and tourist numbers, mobility solutions and urban transport infrastructure are a key part of Vision 2030 .
“Mobility is a complex and fast-moving field – and in cities like Riyadh and Jeddah, the solutions must be multiple: from smart use of micro-mobility solutions to accelerated deployment of public transport systems.”
He added: “Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s giga projects have a unique level of flexibility from an infrastructure and design perspective, meaning they can act as both entry points for innovation in the Kingdom, as well as global pioneers of urban mobility solutions. “
The index highlights that Riyadh’s nearly complete mass transit system, which will combine a bus network with six lines of automated metro, will play a key role in the city’s mobility future.
The findings showed that the city’s current car-centric approach is being mitigated by good road infrastructure, strong adoption of ride-sharing and the government’s new investments in connected autonomous vehicle technology.
Saudi Arabia also recently announced its first EV manufacturing plant – which will help reach their stated goal of 30 percent of all cars within Riyadh by 2030 being EVs.
Meanwhile, Jeddah’s strengths include its high-quality road infrastructure and strong regional links. Another strength comes from the coastal city’s proximity to Mecca and Medina, while its international airport’s connection to the Holy Cities by high-speed rail makes it an important and connected global hub.
The city also plans to develop a comprehensive public transportation system, including a subway that should open in 2030.
The report noted that preference for cars across the Middle East contributes to the region’s low use of non-motorized transport, but a generally high penetration of shared mobility services, such as car sharing, helps reduce congestion levels.
The index ranks 57 quantitative and qualitative key performance indicators that measure social impact, infrastructure, market attractiveness, system efficiency and innovation.
Other metrics in the overall index include investment and incentives for electric vehicle charging station networks, the number of car-free zones, autonomous vehicle adoption, and public transit ridership and affordability.