Chinese firm to study possibility of operating trackless trams in Dubai

Futuristic transport vehicles are crossover between buses, trains and trams

CRRC Zhuzhou Institute developed trackless trains that are now in operation in China. Photo: Wikipedia
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Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority has signed an agreement with a Chinese company to carry out a feasibility study on operating a trackless tram system in the emirate.

China's major train manufacturer CRRC Zhuzhou signed the agreement with RTA on the sidelines of the Mena Transport Congress and Exhibition to look at the possibility of developing an Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART) system for Dubai.

"The agreement with the Chinese CRRC Zhuzhou Company provides for a study to assess the feasibility of rolling out a trackless tram system in Dubai manufactured by the company," said Abdul Younes, chief executive of Rail Agency, RTA.

"The trackless tram system is a modern flexible system that offers cost and energy saving solutions for public transport means."

Yang Zhiguo, chief executive of CRRC Zhuzhou, said the ART system, when compared with conventional trams, has distinctive features such as a short construction cycle, urban adaptability, energy-saving and environmentally friendly.

"We look forward to providing Dubai with innovative, smart and green transport solutions."

The ART system started trials in May 2018, Xinhua News Agency reported.

CRRC Zhuzhou, based in central China's Hunan Province, described the electric vehicles as a cross between a bus, train and tram.

It uses sensors to follow virtual painted tracks and detect the dimensions of the road.

At the time, CRRC said the transit system costs one fifth of a traditional tram system and that 10 minutes of charge time could power the vehicle to travel 25 kilometres.

In 2019, the company carried out high-temperature tests in Qatar.

The system is currently in use in the Chinese cities of Zhuzhou, Yibin and Yancheng.

Despite the name, the system operates in China with a driver.

Dubai has also sealed an agreement with Zhong Tang Sky Railway Group to explore "futuristic transport systems".

Signed in June last year, the early-stage deal with a Chinese "sky rail" company looks at bringing a new transport network to the emirate.

It also signed an early stage working agreement to look at developing a network of high-speed suspended passenger pods in Dubai.

Meanwhile, also on the sidelines of the Mena Transport Congress, Dubai RTA also signed agreements with Nakheel to provide payment services via nol card at the Palm Monorail train stations and with Dubai Investments Park to enhance the operation, maintenance and development work within the protected zone of Route 2020 of Dubai Metro.

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Updated: February 10, 2022, 4:14 AM