In line with the Greater Muscat plan, the capital city will have a public transport system, which includes train infrastructure.
According to an official at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning, there are no long-term feasibility plans for expanding the roads in Greater Muscat; instead there will be other solutions which encompass a light rail line.
“The third phase of the Greater Muscat plan, which focuses on infrastructure projects, looks for an alternative to the road transport system like moving to public transportation, including the train infrastructure”, the official said.
The proposed modern urban transport system is in line with the government's long-term vision to take Oman's transportation sector as envisioned in the ‘Greater Cities’ concept in the Oman National Spatial Strategy (ONSS), which is described as a blueprint for the country’s cities over the next two decades.
As part of a range of infrastructure projects drawn up under ONSS, a metro line in Muscat is planned to run from Ruwi and Muttrah in the east via the city centre to the airport and Seeb in the west.
There are also plans for a passenger rail service to be introduced connecting Seeb with Suhar.
Currently, the use of public transport stands at two per cent. This is to be increased to 20 per cent to ease the dependence on private vehicles, which is 94 per cent at present.
Major cities come at the top of the settlement hierarchy in Oman. The introduction of the Greater Cities concept within the National Spatial Strategy is in response to the important functional roles that economic gateways and national centres will play as major engines of growth.
The significant economic and population growth in these cities will require expansion of their urban containment boundary so that they integrate with their neighbouring settlements, which in turn will benefit from the opportunities available in the larger cities, leading to the emergence of Greater Cities concept, represented in Greater Muscat, Greater Salalah, Greater Suhar and Greater Nizwa.
Greater Muscat is based on a diversified economic base. It is absorbed by Barka, and revolves around an economy based on knowledge and innovation, including logistics and tourism sectors. The city emerged as a pioneer at the level of the Gulf Cooperation Council due to its natural characteristics attracting people to live, work and recreate altogether.
“An executive committee with personnel from relevant authorities is implementing the urban strategy in different governorates. The master plan for Greater Muscat will be completed in the first quarter of 2023”, the official said.