Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, is facing major problems with its transport systems as congestion and air pollution intensify the need for change, according to new research.
Boston Consulting Group said global urban transport networks are close to breaking point in megacities, and many new mobility modes designed to fix fundamental issues and improve quality of life are creating new problems.
In a new report, BCG highlights the problems facing Riyadh as traffic congestion and air pollution persist and urban mobility continues to deteriorate.
At present, the population of Riyadh is approximately 4.9 million, which equates to around one million cars on the roads daily, BCG said.
It added that the city presently struggles with congestion and is ranked among the most polluted cities in the world.
"These factors, together with the high reliance on cars and a market projected to grow faster than the rest of the world, underscore the need for mobility challenge solutions," BCG noted.
Among the key drivers for Riyadh’s expected market expansion are seven million potential new women drivers by 2025, the 35 percent of inhabitants currently under the age of 18 who will obtain drivers’ licences in the near future, and an estimated population of more than eight million people by 2030.
“Urbanisation is growing exponentially. While traditional modes of transport – metros, trams, and buses – can be further enhanced, new mobility ecosystem solutions present a viable avenue to sustainability,” said Giovanni Moscatelli, managing director and Partner, BCG Middle East.
“E-scooters, ride-hailing, and other emerging mobility modes such as AVs, robo-shuttles, and MaaS can be essential components in the urban transport system of the future, gradually replacing automobiles.”
“System-level change is essential. Addressing urban mobility requires an understanding of what consumers truly want from their transportation system, and public and private operators in the fragmented mobility ecosystem working together effectively. Therefore, cities need an orchestrator to bring order to the transportation chaos,” added Ingmar Schaefer, project leader, BCG Middle East.
The key to solving the urban challenge is a transport network ecosystem with an orchestrator at its centre, he said, adding that orchestrators can impose order by making decisions regarding the roles of every player, establishing rules, identifying an optimal mix of different mobility modes, creating an overarching vision, and setting target travel times, emissions, and safety levels.