Accelerating sustainable transit with the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai

Deepthy K B

The transportation sector plays a vital role in economies all over the world. On any given day, roughly 168 million passengers use metros in 182 cities within 56 countries around the world, with increasing dependency on public transportation year over year. How efficiently we are able to build and operate mass transit structures can significantly impact the environment and natural resources, as well as the health and wellbeing of millions of people around the world.

At the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), we believe it should be a priority to accelerate the global adoption of sustainability and green building standards. Catering to transit projects, we created the LEED for Transit rating systems to work toward that goal.  

USGBC has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai to advance our vision around metro stations. Protection of the environment during construction and operational phases of mass rapid transit systems is a critical feature of the LEED for Transit program – and Dubai RTA has been a true pioneer in this aspect.

Through this MOU, USGBC and RTA will collaborate to advance the LEED Transit rating system as a solution for both new and existing metro stations in the Emirate of Dubai through LEED Certification of RTA’s Dubai Metro stations.

Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council and GBCI, and Abdul Mohsen Ibrahim Younes, CEO of Rail Agency, RTA signed the MOU in October 2019 in the presence of several officials from both parties.

“As a leader in the construction of green and sustainable infrastructure, Dubai RTA will continue to transform the way transit stations in Dubai are built and operated through the LEED for Transit system,” said Ramanujam. “I am sure these stations will serve as a model for how metro stations can be built with sustainability top of mind for both the MENA region and the rest of the world.” 

Explains Younes, “Through signing this MOU, RTA is seeking to hit multiple targets highlighted by realizing the vision of Dubai Government to transform the Emirate into a leading finance, business and tourist hub. The MOU has the potential of boosting RTA’s pioneering role in sustainable designs, building and operation of rail facilities, sharing essential knowledge, carrying out revisions and updates of LEED BD+C and LEED O+M classifications for existing and new metro stations and ensuring their infrastructure is aligned with LEED’s parameters.”

As a frontrunner in the construction of sustainable infrastructure, Dubai RTA can take the lead in transforming the way transit stations in Dubai are built and operated, positively impacting the health and wellness of millions of passengers who rely on RTA’s public transportation on daily basis. By adopting LEED for Transit, Dubai RTA will further apply green concepts during operations and maintenance, as well as design and construction, to also reduce measurable environmental impacts.    

LEED for Transit was born out of a collaboration with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation in India – that carries 2.7 million passengers per day through their network of 165 stations – and Shengtong Metro Group in China – the second largest metro in the world, serving 10 million riders each day. This was a global collaboration to transform the way transit stations are operated around the world – in a sustainable manner. And with the immense support of these leading industry experts, USGBC launched the LEED for Transit rating system for Operations and Maintenance in 2017 and the LEED for Transit rating system for Building Design and Construction in 2018.

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