The first-ever edition of the FIFA World Cup organized in the Middle East was touted to be the best one in history by both the Local Organising Committee in Qatar and FIFA.
Whether that is true or not, the true extent will only be known after its conclusion, with the grand final set for 18 December, but one thing that is certain is that the mobility ensured by building all the venues in a 50-kilometre radius is next to none in the history of the FIFA World Cup.
For the players and staff of the 32 participating teams, everything was prepared in the best of terms, with no time lost during transportation from the hotels to arenas, while fans are surely delighted to have a state-of-the-art transport system that ensures they reach the venues in due time.
That was all possible with a huge undertaking by the Qatari state, which built a state-of-the-art metro system in record time, basically completing a huge project in just 12 years, after the successful bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup in 2010.
In fact, the Doha Metro, a three-line tube system spanning 37 stations across the capital, needed only nine years to be completed, with the railway opened in December 2019, just in time for the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup, which served as a preparation event for the big show in 2022.
Phase one of the project saw the creation of 37 stations, with three lines — Red, Green, and Gold — running along a 76-kilometer (47-mile) network.
Carrying passengers at speeds of up to 62 mph and connecting five of the eight World Cup stadiums, the system is set to play an integral role in Qatar’s transport operations throughout the tournament and after the competition ends, with its state-of-the-art facilities remaining a legacy for the Middle East state.
The other three venues are easily accessible by bus, trams, or railway, an excellent mixture for everybody to reach the stadiums without any problems.
In total, the Doha Metro cost a whopping $8.2 billion and needed 21 TBM – Tunnel Boring Machines – a machine used to excavate tunnels with a circular cross section through a variety of soil.
It set a new record for having set a world record for the largest number of tunnel boring machines operating simultaneously in a single project, which justifies the speed which best described the project.
The design of the stations was also carefully chosen, reflecting the heritage of the Qatari state, and delivering a unique experience both for locals and visitors.
“It was important that the design would relate to its context, to the city of Doha and to Qatar. We wanted to merge the past and the future of Qatar in one gesture, so we drew inspiration from various traditional Qatari architectural elements — particularly the arch — and adjusted this to create what we refer to as ‘vaulted spaces. So, while the exteriors somewhat reference the monolithic strength of old Qatari architecture, the interior spaces create an effect of light, movement and fluidity,” said Ben van Berkel, the co-founder of UNStudio, a Dutch architecture firm that joined forces with the Qatar Rail Architecture Department to create the stations, according to CNN.
The new subway network also helped ease road congestion in the city, with the traffic reducing by 25% in the first days of its operation, while the environmental cost was slashed too, as the Doha Metro is running on electricity using driverless trains that offer better on-time performance.
In just three years, the new subway network celebrated 50 million passengers transported, with a huge demand by citizens, residents and visitors. Its peak was registered during the FIFA Arab States Cup tournament, a preparation tournament for the FIFA World Cup, when over 2.5 million passengers used the Doha Metro between 30 November and 18 December 2021.
“The metro system is efficient, electric, and utilizes regenerative braking systems which help to reduce the carbon footprint. In addition, all the metro stations are designed and operated under green building certification — ensuring their green credentials,” said the organizers of the competition on the official website of Qatar 2022.
After the conclusion of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the Doha Metro will also debut its Phase 2, with the Blue Line, which will span over 17.5 kilometres and it will have 14 stations.
The Doha Metro is also a key component of Qatar’s Strategic Vision 2030, a master vision and roadmap towards Qatar becoming an advanced society capable of sustainable development with the goal of providing a high standard of living for all citizens by the year 2030.