January 11, 2021
Saudi, World’s Top Oil Producer, Launches City With No Cars
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled his latest vision for Saudi Arabia’s future beyond oil: a city with no cars, roads or carbon emissions.
The 170 kilometer-long (106 mile-long) development called “The Line” will be part of the $500 billion project called “Neom,” the crown prince said in a televised speech on Sunday. Construction is planned to start in the first quarter.
A news release described The Line as a walkable “belt of hyper-connected future communities, without cars and roads and built around nature.” It said the city would have 1 million residents and create 380,000 jobs by 2030. The infrastructure will cost $100 billion to $200 billion, the crown prince said.
Neom is the crown jewel of Prince Mohammed’s plan to diversify the economy of the world’s largest crude exporter. Announced in 2017, the project spans more than 10,000 square miles in a remote area of the country’s northwest. It’s described on its website as “a bold and audacious dream” that will become a hub for new technologies and businesses.
The project has been plagued by skepticism and political controversy since its launch. Analysts question if it’s realistic and can attract the investment needed.
No journey within The Line will be longer than 20 minutes, he said. The city would be built around “ultra-high-speed transit and autonomous mobility solutions,” according to the statement.