Transportation in Doha
Since the early 2000s, Doha, the capital of Qatar has been undergoing an extensive expansion to its transportation network, including the addition of new highways, the construction of a new airport, and the planned construction of a metro (subway) system. These projects are meant to keep up with the population's rapid growth, which has strained the country's current infrastructure.
- 1 Roads
- 2 Railways
- 3 Aviation
- 4 References
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Doha has a comprehensive road network made up primarily of two and three-lane dual carriageways (divided highways). As a result of Doha being a relatively young city circling a central area, a majority of main streets are inordinately wide highway-like motorways that usually include service roads and large medians. While traditionally roundabouts have been used as intersections in the city, they are proving ineffective at regulating traffic flow and thus are overloading the city's road network. Many major roundabouts have been either converted to traffic lights or underpasses and overpasses. Furthermore, many major thoroughfares in the city are being converted to highways in order to accommodate increased traffic.
There are five main highways connecting Doha to its neighboring cities. These are the Dukhan highway to the west of the city, the Al-Shamal Road, connecting Doha to the north of the country, the Al‑Khor Expressway, connecting Doha to the northern town of Al‑Khor, and the Wakrah/Messaid Road, connecting Doha to the south of the country. Finally, Salwa Road runs through south Doha and connects the city to the Saudi border to the south of the country.
These highways are all currently undergoing expansion, and are being expanded within Doha itself.
Doha Expressway (D‑Ring Road/Al Shamal Road)
The Al Shamal-Road has traditionally connected to the D‑Ring Road in Doha, a three-lane dual carriageway that connects the city on a north-south axis. However, as a result of congestion, the D‑Ring Road is being converted into a major highway through the city, and its name has been changed to the Doha Expressway, connecting Doha as a whole and connecting Doha with the north of Qatar. Several phases of the expressway have been completed, including the Al Shamal Bridge, the Landmark Interchange, the Gharaffa Interchange, and the Midmac/Salwa Road Interchange.
The Al Shamal Road is also undergoing significant expansion as part of the Doha Expressway project. The road is being expanded into a four-lane highway (a total of eight lanes) with major interchanges which will better serve the country than the existing two-lane dual carriageway. Furthermore, the new Doha Expressway will connect Doha with the planned Qatar-Bahrain Friendship Bridge at al‑Zubara, connecting the two Persian Gulf states in a similar manner Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are currently connected.
The Lusail expressway is expected to connect the new city of Lusail, currently being constructed north of Doha, to central Doha, along with connecting the Pearl island to the mainland. The expressway is expected to take the path along the former Istiqlal Road, now Lusail Street, and will be a 4‑lane dual carriageway passing through the city. The expressway will extend from Lusail City, through Rainbow roundabout, the Qatar Sports Club roundabout, and the fire department roundabout.
The existing Dukhan highway has been undergoing a reconstruction project for several years, with new interchanges having been constructed and the road being significantly expanded. In the future, it is planned to expand the highway so that it connects directly into Doha through a system of underpasses and overpasses, with plans to replace the Tilted Roundabout, the Markhiya Roundabout, and the TV Roundabout, all major roundabouts in Doha, with underpasses and overpasses.
The Salwa Highway project's first phase has been completed. This phase involved the expansion of the highway, which connects Doha to the southwestern town of Salwa on the Saudi Arabian border, into a four-lane highway with grade separated interchanges. The rest of Salwa Road is expected to be expanded and upgraded, from the recently completed Industrial Area Interchange to the Jaidah flyover, including the construction of an underpass at the Ramada signals, Doha's busiest traffic light intersection. This project is not expected to commence until after the completion of the Doha Expressway.
The F‑Ring Road will be the sixth ring road in Doha, and is being constructed as part of the transportation network leading to the New Doha International Airport. The new highway will connect the airport to the corniche at the new Ras Abu Aboud interchange, currently under construction, and will involve a new ring road south of the E‑Ring Road.
The state-owned Mowasalat company was founded in 2004 to run the country's public transportation. It operates all taxis in Qatar under the "Karwa" brand, with thousands of taxis in the capital. Taxi stands are usually found near malls and shopping centers. In the past difficulties arose in finding Karwa taxis due to the small number of taxis available at launch, which gradually replaced all privately owned taxis.
An extensive bus system, operated by the state-owned Mowasalat, is currently running in the city of Doha. The bus system covers many areas of the city, and there are stops throughout the city. The bus system is mainly used by lower-income segments, which has resulted in increased congestion on the roads, as most people prefer to use their own cars.
Sightseeing (Doha Bus)
Doha Bus tours sightseeing formula has been designed to provide a flexible approach to city discovery. Each open-top bus tour provides a hop-on, hop-off facility at a variety of interesting locations and, wherever possible, Doha Bus tours looks to enhance the visitor sightseeing experience by providing complementary experiences.
A four-line, 300-kilometer (190 mi) metro is under construction. Construction work on the Msheireb station—planned as the hub between—October 10, 2012, to mark the start of work on the key terminal station at Msheireb, which will form the hub of the Doha metro network. The system will include commuter lines, four light rail lines, and a people mover. In August Qatar Rail signed five contracts totaling 1.48 billion riyals for work on the first phase of the metro, which covers 129 route-kilometers including the Red, Green, and Gold lines. The contracts were awarded to Porr/Saudi Binladin/HBK Contracting (enabling works), Jacobs Engineering (Red Line), Louis Berger/Egis Group (Gold Line and main stations), Hill International (Green Line), and Lloyd's Register (safety assessment). According to the CEO of Qatar Rail, Phase 1 is due to open in the fourth quarter of 2019, well ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The city of Lusail, which is located approximately 15 km (9.3 mi) north of Doha's city center, is getting a light rail transit system comprising 36 stations over 38.8 km (24.1 mi). It will connect to the Doha metro. It is expected to cost 10 billion riyals and will be completed in 2016.
West Bay Tram
Doha's West Bay neighborhood is also getting a transit system, an 11.5 km (7.1 mi) catenary-free tramway, which will also serve Education City. The turnkey-system, constructed by Siemens and utilizing its latest Avenio tramcars with supercapacitor technology, is expected to open in 2015.
The Gulf Railway is a proposed railway project that would connect the six Arab member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates—of the Persian Gulf. The regional network would be 1,940 kilometers (1,210 mi) long. It is planned to be operational by 2017. A monorail system is expected to be the first to open, and will carry passengers between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. According to initial planning documents, the metro lines will be mostly underground, which could be a challenge for engineers due to the high water table.
Doha International Airport was Qatar's only international airport until 2014. It was the hub of Qatar Airways, and is served by many other international airlines. Because of the rapid growth in Qatar and the rapid growth of Qatar Airways, the airport was deemed too small and inadequate for the traffic that went through. This problem was recently addressed with a large expansion that was made in anticipation of the 15th Asian Games. In order to accommodate increased traffic, the airport's facilities were expanded significantly, including the construction of a separate terminal dedicated to first- and business-class passengers, and expansion of the current terminal. Furthermore, new stands have been constructed on the opposite side of the runway to handle additional air traffic. These changes have temporarily eased the problem, but because of the airport's small size and limited space for expansion, this has not been enough to permanently solve the crowding problem.
A new airport, the Hamad International Airport, was constructed near the former airport (about 3 miles east), and should solve the problems the current airport has. The first phase of the airport, which was completed in late 2013, along with the second phase will be able to accommodate 25 million travelers annually. Upon completion of the third phase, the airport is expected to be able to handle up to 50 million travelers annually. The new airport is located on the shore, further away from the central areas of the city than the current airport, reducing noise and environmental pollution. The total cost of the new airport is $22 billion. it opened in December 2013 to cargo traffic. Passenger operations began in May 2014.
In terms of area, the new airport is one of the world's largest:
- Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport: 3,254 ha (8,040 acres)
- Hamad International Airport: 2,200 ha (5,400 acres)
- Hong Kong International Airport: 1,225 ha (3,030 acres)
- Heathrow Airport: 1,210 ha (3,000 acres)
- Narita International Airport: 1,065 ha (2,630 acres)
- "Qatar Breaks Ground on Doha Metro". Railway Gazette. 12 October 2012.
- Sambidge, Andy (17 September 2012). "QRail Set to Award Tenders for Doha Metro". Arabian Business.
- "Qatar Foundation to get turnkey tram system from Siemens" (Press release). Berlin: Siemens AG, Infrastructure & Cities Sector. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
- AirguideOnline.com: Global Perspectives - Qatar's New Doha International Airport
- New Doha International Airport presents credentials at leading industry forum, AME Info, 2006-09-26
- Information on the New Doha International Airport