UMR Index


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Score: 38.1%

Sustainable Mobility


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Score: 26.8%

Public Transit


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Score: 26.4%

Population 7.5 million
Surface area (km2) 1,673
Population-density (people/km2) 4,459
GDP per capita ($) 31,235
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What Riyadh Does Well in Urban Mobility

The Saudi capital is making significant investments in public transit with the first phase of an automated metro system expected to open in 2024.

In a city accustomed to cars for hire, residents have been quick to embrace ride-hailing options. Streamlining regulation and addressing high congestion levels would allow the ride-hailing industry to serve more users.

Urban Mobility Readiness Index, Sustainable Mobility and Public Transit scores

Challenges and Opportunities for Riyadh’s Transportation System

Mobility in Riyadh has long been car-focused with an underdeveloped transit system. The completion of the King Abdulaziz Project in 2024, which includes a major bus expansion that was launched in 2023 along with the new metro, will give residents greater options.

Like Jeddah, Riyadh provides few incentives for purchases of electric vehicles (EVs) and limited charging options, resulting in a low EV market share. However, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has launched an EV infrastructure company with plans to install over 5,000 charging stations across the country by 2030. It also is reportedly partnering with South Korea’s Hyundai Motor and US-based Lucid Motors, which is majority-owned by the fund, to produce EVs in the kingdom.

Dimensions of the Urban Mobility Readiness Index score

How Riyadh Can Improve Its Public Transportation and Sustainable Mobility

While Riyadh aims to have 30% of all cars on the road be electric by 2030, the city still lags behind many of its peers in EV incentives. To help close this gap, the city could increase EV purchase subsidies, tax exemptions, and grants for charging stations. It also could introduce non-monetary incentives like dedicated EV lanes or implement a low-emission zone to limit combustion engine car usage and prioritize EVs in key areas in the city.

To become a regional leader in public transportation, Riyadh would need to increase transit’s ridership modal share sevenfold. Completing the ambitious metro and bus project will provide a good start. The city also can increase operating hours of the transit system and implement congestion management systems that de-incentivize personal car usage.

Comparative Urban Mobility Readiness Index scores