Qatar, which has 7,790km of road and traffic density of 78 motor vehicles per kilometre of road, has an estimated $3.8bn worth of ongoing road projects at the end of June 30, 2011, according to Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz).
Qatar’s $3.8bn worth projects comprises 22% of the total GCC road projects valued at $18bn, Markaz said in a latest report. It also revealed that the total value of railway projects in the GCC was estimated to be $79bn between 2011 and 2020.
The UAE had estimated $7.4bn worth of road projects, which was 42% of the total value in the GCC; Oman $3bn (17%), Saudi Arabia $1.5bn (9%), Kuwait $1.5bn (8%) and Bahrain $0.4bn (2%).
Stressing that the future strategy for the road sector in the GCC is very ambitious, it said when the estimated value of projects announced for the period 2011–2015 was taken into account, the total GCC spending amounted to $58bn.
The aggregate length of roads available in the GCC was 291,313 km. Of this, 75% was in Saudi Arabia and 16% in Oman. These two countries were the two largest countries of the GCC as per area, while the rest of the countries have a combined “road share” of approximately 7%, according to the report.
It said the UAE had the highest density of vehicles at 339 vehicles per kilometre of road, Kuwait (233), Bahrain (106), Saudi Arabia (20) and Oman (12).
Among the GCC countries, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar have significantly higher traffic density in comparison with the rest of the countries, it said, adding the higher density of vehicles per kilometre of road was because of the low road density.
Except Bahrain, the rest of the countries in the GCC have significantly low levels of road density, the report said, adding the majority of countries in the GCC fared poorly when compared to developed nations.
Observing that the lower road density, a higher proportion of motor vehicles, and the driving culture as the reasons behind higher instances of road accidents, it said the fatality rates in the majority of the GCC countries were “significantly” high.
Expenditure on the transportation sector has primarily been focused on road networks, it said, adding this could be mainly attributed to the significantly higher density of motor vehicles per kilometre of road in some of the GCC countries as compared to the BRIC (Brazil, Russian, India and China) peers.
Highlighting that the rail was more energy-efficient than cars, buses or trucks, Markaz said the rail would be an interesting option for travellers.
Of the total $79bn rail projects (which include rail, metro, tram and stations), the GCC rail network comprises $30bn, to be shared among the member countries, Markaz said.
According to Meed, Saudi Arabia is the second smallest market for road projects, with only $2.9bn of investments planned or ongoing.