What Manama Does Well in Urban Mobility
The Bahraini capital boasts a strong network of safe and well-maintained roadways with relatively few traffic fatalities. Efforts to develop and upgrade 146 kilometers (90 miles) of roads in the last few years demonstrate a strong commitment to improve road connectivity.
The government began construction in 2023 on a metro system to provide residents with more sustainable travel options. The first 29 kilometers (about 18 miles) of the planned 109-kilometer system are reportedly expected to come into service in 2025.
Urban Mobility Readiness Index, Sustainable Mobility and Public Transit scores
Challenges and Opportunities for Manama’s Transportation System
Unlike many cities in the region, Manama is not a hub for international air travel and has relatively few international passengers and connecting flights. Bahrain International Airport opened a new terminal in 2021 to boost capacity to 14 million passengers a year.
Similar to other cities in the region, a lack of car-free zones and dedicated walking and cycling infrastructure impedes active mobility in Manama. The Kingdom has announced plans to develop bike and e-bike lanes throughout the country.
Dimensions of the Urban Mobility Readiness Index score
How Manama Can Improve Its Public Transportation and Sustainable Mobility
Despite efforts to reduce carbon emissions, Manama lags behind many of its peers in terms of its incentives for electric vehicles (EVs). To help close this gap, Manama could increase its purchase subsidies or tax exemptions, or introduce non-monetary incentives such as dedicated EV lanes. The city also could implement a low-emission zone to limit combustion engine car usage and give EVs priority access to key areas in the city. The government is developing an EV strategy to help meet its 30% decarbonization goal and signed a contract for the installation of five charging stations, a sizeable boost of its current charging capacity.
Manama's public transit system is underutilized with commuters often using private cars. To become a regional leader in public transit ridership, Manama will need to increase its ridership modal share by 3.5. The city can look to do so by continuing to invest in its metro project. The authorities also can discourage car usage by implementing car-free zones to encourage people to use public transit in their day-to-day travel.