Dubai Integrated Rail Master Plan

Using GIS to help the client implement a rail master plan, meeting and exceeding the city's needs.


  • Dubai, Emirate of Dubai, United Arab Emirates


  • Roads and Transport Authority – Rail Agency

Project Status

  • Completed in 2010

Expanding Dubai’s Public Transport Network

Recognizing the need for a modern transportation system to accommodate the travel demands of the city’s rapidly growing population and relieve severe traffic congestion, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) Rail Agency developed the Dubai Integrated Rail Master Plan.

The master plan incorporates the existing and proposed metro and tram network in Dubai and provides the framework within which the preparation of individual transport projects are carried out by indicating the logical sequencing of each project, the time frame within which they should be implemented, the interfaces necessary for overall success of the transport program and the economic benefits of, and justification for, the projects.

The objective was to provide planners, designers, and developers with the framework to carry out programs that will meet future demands, improve accessibility standards and create a modern rail network. The RTA Rail Agency designated WSP to undertake consultancy services for a comprehensive forecasting study to ascertain future demand for public transport based on expected population and economic growth and plan for the implementation of rail infrastructure projects to meet the demand.

Assessing All Viable Options

We developed a detailed Risk and Opportunity Plan. The plan helped guide the project team and stakeholders to identify and control the risks and opportunities associated with the design, construction, commissioning, and operation phases of the project. Following a series of workshops, a comprehensive “live” document, Risk Register was created. Actions to mitigate the risks and enhance the opportunities were identified and then acted on. This document was identified as an important tool throughout all stages of development of this strategic project.

Our urban and transport planners worked closely with the RTA Rail Agency on the development of corridor and network concepts ensuring that rail lines brought minimal impact on affected communities. We also developed generic metro station sizing and examined positioning, through analysis of existing infrastructure and utilities, land availability and the proposed metro station locations, to maximize potential ridership.


Your project in numbers

A Plan for the Community

We performed simulations to verify the traction power concept for the Dubai Metro Purple line. Rail and transit station design evolved from simple functional platforms to complex public transport interchanges and transit-oriented developments being used by millions of passengers each day. We helped the RTA Rail Agency in finding innovative solutions to plan and design, in order to reduce dependence on automobiles.

Consultation with local government authorities and service providers was undertaken to ensure that stakeholders' concerns were addressed during the design process. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) followed both local procedures and international best practice for technical environmental parameters and reporting requirements.

Geographic Information System (GIS) was used to combine Dubai’s development data into a geo-database, incorporating data sets such as: land use, traffic zoning, population, employment, existing and future multi-modal transport networks, utilities and geographical information. We applied GIS tools to facilitate the selection of alignment corridors by visualizing statistical trends and performing advanced analysis of the database, only possible through GIS.

A Clear Roadmap Developed Collaboratively

Our in-depth knowledge of integrated transportation systems in the urban context and our expertise in specific services helped our client to design and implement a rail master plan, meeting and exceeding the city’s needs.

We brought together major stakeholders to discuss future international, inter-city and intra-city rail elements and reach optimum solutions for all parties.