On the right track

Dubai metro route for sustainability

Route 2020, the 15-km extension of the Dubai Metro Red Line, stands out across the Middle East as an example of sustainable infrastructure to replicate.

Sustainability has become the core of all infrastructure projects developed in the Arabian Peninsula. Implementing sustainable mobility solutions that improve the quality of life for residents is a key objective for places such as Dubai, a forward-looking Emirate that prioritizes green solutions for its rapidly growing infrastructure. One such example is the Dubai Metro Route 2020 extension project, which has made fast and efficient public transportation a viable option for more than 270,000 residents as an alternative to driving and other emission-producing transport modes.

Announced in 2014, the Dubai Metro Route 2020 project is an extension of the Red Line from Jabal Ali Station to the Expo2020 site, which abuts the Al Maktoum International Airport and represents the metro’s first major modification. The 15-km extension consists of 11.8km of elevated guideways (viaduct) and 3.2 km of tunnel to provide a transportation solution that connects existing communities to the legacy Red Line. The extension of the Red Line opened in 2021, in time for the Dubai Expo, a six-month event that attracted over 24 million visitors to the city. Thanks to the extension project, the city was able to better accommodate the increased public transportation demands. In total, this two-line mass transit system has 53 stations along 89.6km and supports a daily ridership of about 450,000 people.

The extension, which features the latest automated and driverless train model, is notable for being the first in the world to achieve a LEED v4 BD+C Gold certification for its seven stations, the highest number of certified stations ever achieved for a mass transit project. LEED is the international rating system that recognizes the practices carried out to develop resilient and energy-efficient infrastructures.

In light of this achievement, the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) presented the Parsons led, Parsons-Systra Joint Venture (PSJV) with the “Sustainable Transport Best Consultant” award to recognize PSJV services and support that made this LEED certification possible. The Dubai Awards for Sustainable Transport was launched in 2008 and highlight efforts made between the public and private sectors to implement sustainable mobility solutions that help improve traffic flow in the city and preserve the environment.

During the development of this project, the Parsons-led joint venture provided a range of management and consultancy services including feasibility studies and conceptual design, preliminary engineering, program management, construction supervision, liability oversight, and project closeout. Through these services and by designating sustainability subject matter experts for every phase of the project, Parsons ensured that the Route 2020 extension met all sustainability requirements. PSJV oversaw the reduction of carbon emissions and energy consumption during construction by 16%, reduced construction water consumption by 10%, and diverted 95% of construction and demolition waste from the landfill to recycling centers, a success in advancing circular economy services. In this way, Parsons sets an example to the rest of the region of how projects should be carried out for the transition to a green economy.

In addition to the attainment of the LEED v4 for BD+C Gold Certifications, Route 2020 was also identified by the US Green Building Council as the world’s first and largest sustainable transit project and a showcase of leadership in transforming the building and transportation infrastructure industry in the UAE and the broader Middle East region.

By combining sustainable solutions with state-of-the-art transportation systems, Dubai is pointing the way to the future of mobility. Innovative and green infrastructure projects like the extension of the Red Line, successfully delivered with the support of technology-driven critical infrastructure experts like Parsons, is a clear example that will be replicated by other infrastructure agencies in the Middle East to create a more sustainable future.