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Designing Riyadh Metro with BIM modelling

How do you use better engineering to design 16 underground stations in just 15 months?

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We’re using advanced building design technology to help a thriving metropolis build the biggest urban mass transit system ever created from scratch.

Connecting Saudi Arabia’s biggest city

Forty years ago the population of Riyadh was just 100,000. Today, the Saudi Arabian capital is a thriving metropolis with over six million inhabitants – and, until now, no public transportation system. But that’s about to change. With Arup’s digital expertise, the city is building a network comprised of six metro lines that connects 85 stations and spans nearly 110 miles of track.

Railway Design Technology

This $9 billion construction contract required us to design 16 underground stations in just 15 months working with a 400-strong multi-disciplinary team across six different locations.

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Working locally, thinking globally

How do you keep information flowing between 400 team members across six locations? Our big design decision was to develop a single station prototype which could be adapted for each location and its role within the metro system. Then, using BIM (Building Information Management), the teams created a model which could be configured for each station based on its unique requirements. This means fast, effective communication between everyone involved, with measurable results.

Building the world’s largest public transport system in 15 months is no easy feat.

To meet the tight programme, we used design automation to reduce time spent on repetitive tasks. This maximised the time available to make key decisions and enabled us to respond faster to client and site team requests – and, most importantly, create a metro system that will make the people of Riyadh proud.

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Fiona Cousins - Arup Digital Leaders
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Fiona Cousins

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+1 212 896 3000 New York, local time - 16:55pm

Greg Stone
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Greg Stone

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+61 (0) 2 9320 9320 Sydney, local time - 7:55am

Clement Chung - Arup Digital Leaders
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Clement Chung

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+852 2528 3031 Hong Kong, local time - 4:55am

Mark Chown - Arup Digital Leaders
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Mark Chown

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+34 (0) 91 523 9276 Madrid, local time - 22:55pm

Alan Newbold - Arup Digital Leaders
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Alan Newbold

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+44 (0) 20 7636 1531 London, local time - 21:55pm